Homeowners Mull Over Property Acquisition Strategy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Homeowners Mull Over Property Acquisition Strategy

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by Jason Epner

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- 192 flood-affecteed homes -- mainly on the northwest side of Cedar Rapids -- were offered a voluntary buyout option Friday.

The plan divides flood-damaged properties into three areas, based on location, land purpose and availability of funding.

Greg Vail is a contractor and a homeowner in one of those areas - the Greenway Acquisition area.

"This is what I'd wake up to every morning.  The sun coming in up there and the view of the river," said Vail.

Rebuilding is not an option for his flooded house on the northwest side of Cedar Rapids.

"The money it would take to invest in this house to put it in for two years compared to the mortgage payment, I'd come out at a loss," said Vail.

His home now sits on Cedar Rapids' list of 192 properties eligible for a buyout through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.  The list is part of the city's property acquisition strategy.

"With all of these regulations involved with these voluntary programs, it's really necessary to sit down and talk this through with residents," said Jennifer Pratt, development coordinator.

City officials will meet with the 192 homeowners included in the buyout area to discuss options including submitting an application to FEMA by January 31st.

For Vail, it's a small step in a lengthy process.  FEMA funding is not expected until next Fall.

"People like myself, we're stuck.  I'm living in a rental property when I'm used to living in a house, and I'm waiting for the city to figure out what they're going to do.

The proposed acquisition plan still needs City Council's approval on December 10th.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

Online Producer:  Dani Blecha

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