Buyout program extended - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Buyout program extended



Good news for some Pine Island residents and business owners who are tired of floods destroying their properties. They now have more time to apply for a buyout proposal. That's after a mailing dispute leaving many property owners without the information on the program.

The original deadline for the buyout program was in February. But city officials soon realized the informational letters that were mailed out several times, never reached many of the home and business owners. And the program is getting a lot more interest.

Last September brought some of the worst flooding to Pine Island.

"It case up so fast this last time, we didn't have time to get everything out."

But for some low-lying properties near the Zumbro river, last fall was certainly not their first flood.

"We've been flooded three times now: 1990, 2002, and then now last 2010, September," says homeowner Vernetta Pahl.

The Pahls have lived in this home since for 60 years, but the house itself has stood its ground since 1928. They say flooding is a relatively recent thing, and it's depreciating the history of the home. That's a problem since the Pahls are looking into a state program that would buyout their flood-prone property, but at the 2010 property value.

"I'm worried about the number," says Pahl.

"Yes, that's the one that I am concerned too," says her husband Harlen.

Same goes for owners of Olsons Motor Repair.

"We get flooded every time and we're tired of being flooded," exclaims co-owner Tracy Olson.

So much so, they're willing to take a hit in order to move their business, but they can only go so low. The Olsons just don't want to go through another flood.

"This might not never, ever happen again. I don't know, but 10 inches of rain don't seem very uncommon anymore. You hear it all the time," says co-owner Tony Olson.

While the Olsons are only too happy to move to higher ground, the Pahls say it would not be so easy to say goodbye the memories in this house.

"It's kind of hard to see that much family history go, but if we're going to get flooded time after time, after time..."

Then it may be time to put roots down elsewhere.

Pine Island homeowners and business owners who are in the 100-year flood plain will have until April 29th to put in their application for the buyout program. So far, an additional six applications have already come in. For an application, go to our website, we have the information on where you can get one.

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