City spends $1 million to buy houses in flooding area

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When six houses are demolished on Friday the city of Sioux Falls will have spent about $1 million in a flood relocation program for several residents who live near Tomar Park.

Chellee Unruh, the city’s housing manager, said the city set aside $1 million in 2019 for a flood relocation program primarily on West Rose Street near West Lotta Street and Tomar Park in the city. The area is just off Minnesota Avenue and south of Interstate 229.

The city used about 90% of the $1 million to buy eight houses in the area and the remainder was used to buy a ninth house and will be used to demolish six houses, Unruh said.

Three of the homes were donated to the South East Development Foundation for relocation.

A total of $955,512.04 was used to buy nine houses, Unruh said. The total payout to homeowners of $1,167,356.62 may include any insurance payouts, she said.

The city has not specifically targeted Rose Street but in terms of priority for funding purchases, Rose Street is an area of focus, Unruh said.

The Rose Street area has had numerous flooding problems and it’s built in a flood plain, Unruh said.

“It’s definitely a problem area (for flooding),” Unruh said of the Rose Street area.

The city will also work with home owners who do not live on Rose Street, Unruh said.

The houses to be relocated are: 313 W. Rose St., 305 W. Rose St. and 316 W. Rose St.

The houses scheduled to be demolished are 304 W. Rose St., 200 W. Rose St., 217 W. Rose St., 300 W. Lotta St., 220 W. Lotta St., and 105 W. Rose St.

Home owners in the area must voluntarily sell their houses to the city. The city donated the houses for relocation or will demolish the houses.

The process starts with an appraisal of the property so the houses can be bought at a fair market value, Unruh said. An application is submitted on behalf of the owner. If the purchase is approved, the city buys the house, Unruh said.

The city has set aside another $500,000 for 2020. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will also participate in the buyout program. Unruh said FEMA will provide 75% of the money needed to buy more houses while the city will provide 25% of the cost, Unruh said.

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