NASHVILLE (AP) - The city has mailed more then 300 buyout letters to flood victims and plans to turn the most vulnerable areas into green space.

The Tennessean reports the buyout program is the government's most dramatic step yet to help those affected by the devastating flood last month.

The city this week mailed letters to the owners of 305 properties that are in the floodway, the area where water flows most swiftly during a flood.

The process could change the character of some neighborhoods, replacing established communities with parks and green space that won't be developed again.

Property owners have until Aug. 1 to return the letters to Metro Water Services, which will apply to state and federal emergency management agencies for approval of any buyouts.

Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.