Rock Rapids, Iowa — It has now been one year since the northwest Iowa Flood of 2014. Earlier this spring we got an update on the flood recovery progress in Rock Valley from City Administrator Tom Van Maanen.
While things are going well in both Rock Valley and Rock Rapids, the situation is totally different in Rock Rapids says that community’s Mayor, Jason Chase. While Rock Valley only had two homes that were in the flood plain and qualified for the buyout program, Rock Rapids had many more, and will probably be a different-looking community when it’s all over.
He says that work is just beginning.
Mayor Chase says it was a different situation for the owners of the red-tagged “condemned” properties.
Chase says the buyout is a voluntary program and people can change their mind up until closing, but if they choose not to participate, depending on the property and the amount of damage incurred, they may still be fairly restricted as to what they can build there.
With around forty homes being torn down in a small community, there is obviously a housing shortage in Rock Rapids, says Chase.
He says some of those apartment tenants are temporary while they get their permanent housing finalized. Chase says as the new homes are built, people move into the old house that was vacated when the new home’s owners moved into their new home, and so forth. He says it’s just like the old puzzle game where you slide one piece and move the next into its spot.
He says there are some housing incentives including a $4000 incentive, tax abatement, efficient appliance chamber bucks, and a residential demolition program for houses that need to be torn down in the core of the city, but are not part of the buyout.
Chase says there’s piles of paperwork and they really need to have their ducks in a row to get reimbursed from Homeland Security and FEMA. He says after they’ve done phase one, he expects the remaining phases to go more quickly.
He says they’re also planning some flood-related changes to Island Park.
He says they hope to be able to let out a project for bids soon for a new shelter house behind where the zoo building was.
Chase says that considering the havoc that the flood raised in the community, they’re doing as well as can be expected a year later.
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