Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007
Funds to buy homes damaged by '04 flood
Most of the funds to remove houses will come from the state.
LISBON It may take two more years to remove homes damaged in floods here in mid-2004, county officials said.
The Columbiana County commissioners approved the funding Wednesday that will be offered to the property owners.
Commissioner Jim Hoppel said, "It seems like it took a long time to get here."
Pam Dray, coordinator for the county's development program, said a variety of factors caused the delays.
That included the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to Hurricane Katrina in summer 2005 that drew federal workers and relief funds from throughout the nation.
Dray said some people are still living in flood-damaged houses.
"It's been difficult for many of them," Dray said. "But it wasn't like people were trying to hold it up."
Thirteen homes in Lisbon are involved in the program. A total of $880,250 has been set aside to buy the houses. In the rest of the county, $645,392 has been set aside to buy 10 houses.
Of those amounts, $193,000 in federal funds will go to buy the homes in Lisbon, and $140,000 in federal funds will go to buy houses in the rest of the county. The rest is state money.
There are tentative figures for the value of homes. Dray said that if the property owner is satisfied with the price, payment will be approved.
"A lot of people are anxious to get rid of their property," she added.
The funds also will pay for demolition and removal of the debris. The program is designed to remove homes where the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the property.
In Lisbon, two of the houses date to the late 1800s, and most were built in the early 1900s. The three newest houses were all built in the 1970s. Most of the homes are on Caldwell Avenue.
In the rest of the county, the oldest house is near Lisbon. It dates to 1900. The newest house, in Salem, was built in 1995. Homes on the list are in Kensington, Salem and Wellsville
The ages of the structures didn't surprise Dray. She said that 80 percent of the houses in the county were built before the 1960s.
County officials said it may take more than two years to remove the flood-damaged homes.
The most expensive part of the project may not be buying the homes or the demolition, but rather the cost of hauling away the debris, especially if asbestos is found in it, officials added.
Once the houses are removed, the land cannot be used again for any major construction because of the potential for flooding, Dray said. The land can be turned over to subdivisions and used for parks.