FEMA buyout of flood-prone homes in Dell Rapids could start this summer

Local News

DELL RAPIDS, SD (KELO) — As KELOLAND communities brace for the possibility of spring flooding, others are still dealing with the unfinished business of flooding from last year. The City of Dell Rapids will find out this summer whether FEMA will help pay to remove 10 flood-damaged homes along the Big Sioux River. Some people are saddened about the prospects of losing so many homes in their neighborhood.

Judy Peters has lived in the same house near the Big Sioux River in Dell Rapids for 43 years. Last fall’s flooding was the worst she’s ever seen.

“It was 6 inches on the main floor and the garage. It came in the garage, which it’s never done before,” Peters said.

Peters just moved back after spending five months at her daughter’s while her flood-damaged home was being repaired. Despite the high water hardships, Peters has no plans of leaving.

“I love it down here. It’s quiet, peaceful. So the water comes up every now and then,” Peters said.

“The flooding was kind of up to that window right there,” Dell Rapids City Administrator Justin Weiland said.

The City of Dell Rapids is working with 10 homeowners applying for a FEMA buyout to remove their flooded homes.

“It was a record flood in this community and really was the decision-maker for a lot of the property owners,” Weiland said.

The City of Dell Rapids is hopeful that the FEMA funding will come through and they can remove the homes from this neighborhood. But they also realize that they’re not the only South Dakota community in need of help.

“Other communities are going to be applying for this same pool of funding so we’re hopeful the state understands our plight here in Dell Rapids,” Weiland said.

But Peters says the possibility of losing so many homes will dramatically change the neighborhood where she’s lived for so long.

“I can’t imagine having my house tore down and watching it, yeah, it’s just sad,” Peters said.

Peters says she’ll be so saddened by the loss, she doesn’t even want be around while the homes are being demolished.

Homeowners who want to take part in the FEMA buyout have until March 13 to apply. Dell Rapids should find out by mid-July whether the applications are approved.

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