City to get $1.2 million FEMA grant

A little over $1.2 million in federal assistance has been awarded to the City of Fond du Lac to raze 14 flood-damaged homes and create green space.


That’s good news for local residents who have lived in limbo since the June 2008 flood while waiting for money to come through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

As many as 10 out of the 14 families who signed up for the program are still living in rental units, said City Manager Tom Herre.

“This money will let them get on with their lives. It will make them financially whole again,” Herre said.

The funding acquisition project of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was offered to some of the city’s worst flood victims. All the properties were located within a 100-year flood plain and experienced damage costs that were beyond 50 percent of the home’s value.

The program allows the city to purchase the properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space. A few of the houses are located on Doty Street, and the rest are scattered in flood plain areas along the Fond du Lac River.

City Council President Tim Lakin said the goal of the program was to remove houses from flood plain areas. Some of the properties have already been razed.

“We are happy these families will finally get some closure,” he said.

A total of $1.6 million will be divided between the 14 homes, Herre said. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the project costs, and the remaining 25 percent of the cost, $410,602, will be provided through a combination of funds from the State of Wisconsin and the City of Fond du Lac.

Herre said property owners have all been notified and will be paid what the value of their house was before the flood.

“There are still some administrative hurdles to be taken care of, but it will be sooner rather than later,” he said.

The lots are fairly small and close together but not conducive to creating neighborhood parks, he said.

“What we think will happen is neighbors would be granted an easement to use that property for activities in the area. In turn, they would promise to maintain the space,” Herre said.