For years, homeowners along the DuPage River have struggled with flooding that has filled their yards and homes with water, leaving some houses uninhabitable and, in many cases, impossible to rebuild.
Now, a $5 million federal IKE Grant, named for the 2008 hurricane, will allow Will County buy out homes in the floodplain.
Last month, the Will County Board voted to accept the grant, funded through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
County board member John Argoudelis said the county has been working to obtain the grant funding for several years.
“We’re just pleased that this was able to get done for a lot of our residents in need,” said Argoudelis, who also serves as Plainfield Township supervisor. “Nobody locally would have the funds to do this.”
Tom Carroll, chief subdivision engineer for the Will County Land Use Department, said 40 homeowners along the DuPage River in Plainfield Township, Channahon and Crete Township are eligible for buyouts.
“The homeowners were all contacted in late 2008, 2009,” Carroll said, and all have agreed to the voluntary buyout.
In Plainfield Township, the grant funding will assist homeowners in the Weller subdivsion and along River Road, who have dealt with flooding for years.
“I believe there were three pockets of homes that were severely damaged,” Argoudelis said.
The buyout is available to homeowners affected by Hurricane Ike.
“The remnants of Hurricane Ike came up here and flooded homes in September 2008,” Argoudelis said. “The problem is a lot of these people now are unable to rebuild.”
Now that the federal funding has come through, the county will move forward with plans to purchase the homes, with the intention of demolishing the properties and turning the land over to local park districts.
“It will happen in 2012 is my understanding,” Argoudelis said of the timeline for finalizing the purchases.
Carroll said the county is in the process of conducting appraisals and will send out offer letters to the homeowners.
“It could be a matter of a few months,” he said.
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