City of Des Moines Home Buyouts Don’t Relieve Stress for Some Flood Victims

DES MOINES, Iowa --Nearly three months after devastating flash flooding, people who opted to take the city up on it's offer to buy them out are finally moving.

The city offered to buy out nearly 100 properties in flood prone areas following widespread flooding in July. So far, 80 property owners have signed up like Ana Cratty.

"We`re moving, we`re packing," she says. "Right now we are the only ones left. Those two neighbors are gone. Everyone around us is gone."

Cratty will close on a new house in a few weeks. This home meets all her needs.

"We wanted to make sure we were not near a creek or any water and that there hadn`t been any history of flooding in the neighborhood or in the house," she laughs.

Her old house didn't meet any of those criteria. Her entire neighborhood along the Four Mile Creek on East 35th street flooded with several feet of water mid - summer. The buyout was a favored option for many in the neighborhood due to previous flooding there in recent years but Cratty says the buyout is actually costing her more.

"We're going back into debt and taking out another loan now," she says. "It`s a money pit."

The city is working to prevent future major flooding events. City leaders agreed to put more funding towards speeding up the city's aging storm sewer system. Originally it was scheduled to take 10 - years to upgrade the system but the city says that time will be cut it half.

"One of the challenges we’ve already got is were doing this on an existing city and it needs to function while we make these improvement," says councilmen, Josh Mandelbaum.

The project is estimated to cost roughly $130 million dollars to complete.