Flood zone buyouts in Pine Island and Oronoco - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Flood zone buyouts in Pine Island and Oronoco


PINE ISLAND, Minn. (KTTC) -- If your home or business has flooded not once, but maybe twice or more would you take a government supplemented buyout? That's the question 12 property owners in Pine Island have had to answer whether or not to move forward with the flood buyout program offered to them.

All of this dates back to nearly 2-years ago in September of 2010. The Zumbro River jumped its banks taking out churches, homes and businesses. One of the areas hit, was the city of Pine Island.

While calm and serene now, the heart of downtown Pine Island was much different nearly 2 years ago.

"We were standing in a good foot of water right here and this is the highest point of the river. It was a mess, that's all I can say, it was a mess," said Tony Olson, with Olson Motor Repair.

Olson Motor Repair, less than a football field away from the river, has been affected by one too many floods.

"We figured we'd had enough floods. I've been here since 1981 and I don't know how many times we sandbagged - maybe 7 or 8 times," explained Olson.

Tony Olson is one of the people who accepted money from the federal government in the voluntary flood buyout program. Pine Island's Administrator, Abraham Algadi tells us the Department of Natural Resources decided which property owners would be eligible for the buyout. In order for homeowners to qualify, construction on their property had to take place prior to the flood control ordinance which determined flood zones.

"It was an evaluation of your property tax in 2010, so at least I'm getting my full value back for my property, it's not enough to relocate, but it's something," stated Olson.

Relocating to higher ground is something Olson is looking forward too.

"In about 2-weeks we're moving, so we took the flood buyout, so we're not going to be in a flood no more," explained Tony.

Twelve property owners were eligible for the buyout, but only 5 have accepted. 

-Bonita Kundert
-Rose Ann Zeller
-Olson Motor Repair
-Vern Schneider
-Wally and Susan Klopp

At this point Pine Island Lumber is still deciding whether or not to take the buyout, they declined to further comment.

Pine Island isn't the only community with flood zones and buyouts. FEMA just awarded a $456,000 some dollar grant to Oronoco for the acquisition of five flood-prone homes that have been severely damaged from flooding.

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