Governor Pat Quinn today announced $8.7 million in federal funding to acquire and demolish 167 flood-prone homes and businesses in Alexander County. The funding was approved today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the state will provide nearly $3 million in capital funds to cover the required 25 percent local match. Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to driving the region's recovery forward. Shortly after the floods, Governor Quinn was successful in securing a federal disaster declaration, which provided important assistance for individuals, businesses and counties working to rebuild.
"The historic floods of 2011 turned many lives upside-down," Governor Quinn said. "These investments will help many families start anew as they continue to rebuild their lives."
Representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have worked closely with local officials in Alexander County throughout the grant application process. The Geology Department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale also provided assistance to the county.
Most of the properties that will be acquired are in Olive Branch, a community that was particularly hard-hit by flooding in 2011. Other properties are in Tamms and Thebes. Purchase prices will be based on appraisals of pre-flood home values. The grants announced today will also fund projects to elevate four additional homes, helping prevent future flood damage.
The Alexander County project will be one of the largest flood-related acquisitions ever in Illinois. To date, more than 3,000 homes and businesses have been purchased and the land turned into open spaces. By removing structures from the flood-prone areas, communities can save on future flood-fighting expenses and residents can avoid the heartbreak of repeated flood damage.
The federal funds were made available through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which supports state and local government projects to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. The state's match was made available through Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) capital funds.