SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — There’s a big difference between how the neighborhood by Rose and Lotta Streets just south of the Big Sioux River near Interstate 229 in southern Sioux Falls looked in March of 2019 versus how it looks now. Even though the floodwaters are long gone, they had a lasting impact on the neighborhood.

“It made federal dollars available,” said Regan Smith, emergency manager with the City. “The City of Sioux Falls stepped up and made dollars available, and it’s just an ongoing voluntary program at this point.”

Since the 2019 flooding, the City of Sioux Falls has purchased 17 properties in the area. Albert Schmidt, urban planner with the City, says the goal is to help people avoid the kind of scenes we saw four years ago.

“The main purpose for us is to get properties that are likely to flood out of that situation, so that we don’t have people that keep on getting affected by these floods,” Schmidt said.

There is, of course, the ensuing question of what comes next with the area.

“The secondary side of it is what do you do with it afterwards,” Schmidt said. “We don’t have any firm plans on that yet, but more than likely, looking at some sort of green space.”

The South Eastern Development Foundation, run by Lynne Keller Forbes of Sioux Falls, has moved six homes bought by the city.

“We’ll take more,” she said. “Every time the City acquires one, we go and look at it and see if it would be a good candidate for moving or not.”

But if people want to stay here, they certainly can.

“To me the most important thing on this, again, is it’s voluntary,” Schmidt said.