Janesville30.4°

Flood funds set to pour in

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 7, 2009
— The city will receive $933,563 to buy nine homes damaged in the 2008 flood.

Most are in the Mole & Sadler's subdivision on the west shore of the Rock River south of Riverside Park. Another is at 809 S. Jackson St.


"This is the funding that we've anxiously been waiting for to assist the residential properties that were damaged during the 2008 flooding," Jennifer Petruzzello, neighborhood services director, said.


Property owners interviewed in March were frustrated by the delay. The city made the grant application in November.


"This is a big step," Petruzzello said. "It means that funding is available to assist those property owners."


The city had hoped to get funding for 12 structures. But the state has environmental concerns about three of the properties. The structures were removed from the grant so the funding for the remaining nine could be awarded.


The state will submit a revised application to the federal government for the remaining three. Petruzzello said the delay concerns the properties' proximity to Riverside Plating, which closed in 1992 because of environmental violations.


Now, the state will review the property appraisals for the nine properties submitted by the city and determine the amount that can be offered to the owners.


Petruzzello said the city estimated a fair market value by using current assessed values and adding 25 percent. The city wanted to make sure it had enough funds to cover the cost of the properties, she said.


The appraisals ranged from $61,000 to $197,000. The actual total might come in lower than $933,563, she said.


Many of the residents also will be eligible for some relocation benefits.


The owners can accept the appraisals or have second ones done at their own costs.


The owners will then decide whether to accept the offers.


If they do, the city will tear down the structures and nothing can ever be built in those locations.


"That's the primary purpose for the grant—to remove structures from the flood plain to avoid reoccurring losses," Petruzzello said.


If an owner decides to rebuild instead of taking the buyout, he or she must do so according to federal flood standards.


In addition to the FEMA money, the state will chip in $155,594. The city must contribute a similar amount, but that will be covered by a recent emergency assistance grant awarded to help Wisconsin recover from the flood.



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