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Rock Rapids Taking Steps To Remove Flood Damaged Homes

July 25, 2014, 6:01 PM by Leland Steva

Rock Rapids Taking Steps To Remove Flood Damaged Homes

It's been a month since heavy rains caused flash flooding in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Now the city is looking to prevent future flooding problems.

Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase says the plan is to apply for a Hazard Mitigation Assistance, which gives federal money to help a community make a long-term solution to prevent future damage. The Mayor says the plan in his town is tear down buildings and turn lots along the river into open space.

One month after the flood, damage is still evident in Rock Rapids. Many homes in the community are sitting on shifted foundations, and are not livable.

Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase hopes to buy these homes and demolish them, leaving it as green space. He says without these homes to worry about, it will allow the city to take care of other homes.

"If we didn't homes in those areas when it started to flood you wouldn't dedicate efforts to save bare lots, you would just let it flood, block the road and move on and save homes that are still there," Mayor Jason Chase said.

Chase says 60 to 80 buildings in Rock Rapids could be demolished. It's up to homeowners to decide if they want to sell their homes. They would get an appraisal for their homes before the flood damage, and the city would pay fair market value for the home.

Elizabeth Stubbe thinks the plan is a good idea, because her neighborhood is empty after many people left their damaged homes. However, despite a flooded basement and losing many appliances, she wouldn't sell her house.

"I've lived in this town my whole life. We bought this house from my father-in-law who lived here for 21 years, and we would like to keep it in the family," Elizabeth Stubbe said.

Craig Schroeder home has a different view.

"You got to take a payout," Craig Schroeder said.

He lost his home. He's frustrated that homeowners didn't get individual federal aid because not enough homes were damaged. Schroeder says he has no choice but to take the potential money from the city.

"Yeah I have to, along with a lot of other people. I'm one of the luckier ones my basement didn't cave in, but I still can't rebuild. I can't afford it," Schroeder said.

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