Owners of Flood-Damaged Homes Accept Buyout Offers From City of Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Just 12 days after the City of Des Moines announced its $11.5 million home buyout program, several homeowners have already signed offer letters.

“I mean, it’s absolutely devastating when your basement fills up with raw sewage clear to the ceiling, and the stench. And you lose so much every time, you lose more and more. I didn't have that much left after all these different times,” homeowner Alan Lamb said.

After the third flood, Lamb begged the city to buy his house, and on Monday he got the good news he was hoping for.

“I feel the offer they gave me was very fair. It wasn’t as much as I would have liked, but it was very fair. I appreciate what the City of Des Moines has done. I really feel that they stepped up. I really do,” Lamb said.

Lamb said several of his friends on E. 35th Street also accepted offers from the city, which plans to re-invent that area.

“There is a plan in place in partnering with the county and county conservation to re-invent Four Mile Creek, and that's part of the E. 35th property. It involves some nature trails, some wetlands, mitigation, and even some nodes that would city park opportunities and amenities."

Sanders said they've made a lot of progress on the buyout program.

“Eighty-nine residents have been notified and asked if they want to participate. As of just one hour ago, we’ve had 32 owners respond that they do want to participate, and so we’ve already taken 10 offers and sent that offer letter out to 10 of those 32 at this point,” Sanders said.

Lamb said he's sad to leave the house he's lived in for 40 years, but doesn't have much left after his belongings that were not damaged by flooding were stolen.

“I kind of have mixed feelings, but I'm ready to move on. We’re going to go to California west coast this winter. If we want to turn right we’re going to turn right, if we want to turn left we’re going to left. And I’m ready. I’m really ready,” Lamb said.

Sanders says they expect to add a few more houses to the buyout program, but don't expect to add more money to what they've already set aside because they anticipate some residents won’t want to participate.