LaMoure County residents work to reclaim homesIn an area still drying out from the flood — questions of funding remain unanswered although rebuilding has already begun. Six months ago, floodwaters surged through Adrian and parts of LaMoure County, inundating basements, backyards and main floors. For months, more than seven households in the town of about 50 people located 30 miles southeast of Jamestown were displaced. Some scattered to the homes of friends and family, some relocated and others moved to camping trailers. Since then, those families and others with water damage have sanitized, gutted and rebuilt.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
ADRIAN, N.D. — In an area still drying out from the flood — questions of funding remain unanswered although rebuilding has already begun.
Six months ago, floodwaters surged through Adrian and parts of LaMoure County, inundating basements, backyards and main floors. For months, more than seven households in the town of about 50 people located 30 miles southeast of Jamestown were displaced. Some scattered to the homes of friends and family, some relocated and others moved to camping trailers.
Since then, those families and others with water damage have sanitized, gutted and rebuilt.
Today, at least three households remain without a permanent residence, and even those who returned home question the chance of flooding again.
Part of the struggle, homeowners say, is waiting to see what kind of assistance they qualify for, if they qualify at all.
In all, about 36 LaMoure County homes may be at risk of future flooding, said Sheri Gartner, La-Moure County Emergency manager. So to save the homes and also to potentially save taxpayer dollars, the county is participating in a Property Acquisition Program. Under the program, a home in a flood-prone area could be bought out or demolished, or the home could be moved to higher ground. The program’s goal is to move homes out of the flood plain and reduce future flooding effects, she said.
An informational meeting about the county’s program is set for today.
So far, about a dozen homeowners have expressed interest, Gartner said, but none have applied.
One of those interested homeowners is Reid Jawaski.
Jawaski’s basement flooded in March and the water didn’t leave until May.
The pressure knocked out two of his basement’s walls, leaving it vulnerable to weather and wildlife. A stack of bricks in the northeast corner remains, holding the home upright.
While Jawaski waited for assistance from insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other resources, he moved in with his parents and made plans for a new home. He’s received some financial assistance, but less than half of what it would cost to repair the damages to his home.
Other assistance like the acquisition program may be available, but Jawaski wanted to move on, he said.
“Information is what we need to know,” he said. “We’ve been waiting a long time.”
So last week, Jawaski moved into a modular home located on a hill. He’s still in the process of unpacking his 60 plastic containers of clothes, appliances, tools and other household items.
“No, it ain’t normal,” he said, standing in the driveway of the home he’s owned since 1996. “It’ll never be back to normal.”
If a homeowner like Jawaski applied for the acquisition program, Gartner said, he could qualify for some federal and state assistance. Through the program, FEMA pays 75 percent, the state pays 10 percent and the homeowner pays 15 percent of the demolition or relocation of the home.
Another interested homeowner is Adrian resident Pat Rode.
Floodwaters seeped into her home along the James River, but since then, she and her husband, Loren, have made most of the repairs.
Her son and daughter-in-law, Lucas and Shawna Rode, have yet to move back into their home, which at its peak, had water up to its main level. Doris Rode, Pat’s mother-in-law, had water for so long, the basement walls now bow inward.
Each of the three residences may participate in the acquisition program, Pat Rode said, but already, the families are progressing toward permanent homes.
“The wheels of government turn way too slowly,” she said. “We’re not in a position to wait.”
Lucas and Shawna Rode plan to move their home to higher ground. Already, the family has built and paid for a road, downing soybean and cornfields to make way.
Doris Rode moved to an apartment in LaMoure, N.D., while her family builds her a new home just southeast of the home she’s lived in her entire married life.
The repairing and rebuilding can be expensive, Pat Rode said. Building Doris Rode’s home will cost about $30,000 and that’s because her family can do most of the labor. But the question of funding could take two years to answer, Pat Rode said.
“You can’t sit and do nothing for two years,” she said.
Like the Rodes, Jawaski has spent money he was saving for retirement on his new home.
“It’s tapped us all out,” he said.
Like at least three other LaMoure County households, Pat Rode is building a permanent dike around her home even though mitigation tactics aren’t part of the acquisition program. Permanent dikes typically cost around $30,000. Part of the problem, Rode said, is getting those projects done before winter — even if the question of financial assistance remains unanswered. So waiting until funding is available, if it is available, isn’t an option. Plus, Pat Rode said, the waters could return this spring.
“I mean what do you do? Just wait to get flooded again?” she said.
The LaMoure County Property Acquisition Program meeting is set for 7 p.m. today at the LaMoure Civic Center. For more information, contact Gartner at 701-883-5301, ex. 236. The deadline to apply is Sept. 23.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454
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