BETTENDORF, Iowa -- Homeowners who live in a neighborhood near Duck Creek in Bettendorf have a choice to make after the city won a FEMA flood grant. The project offers to buy them out with the fair market value of their home, but some homeowners feel like their houses should be worth more.
Resident Barry Vestal said the offer wasn't feasible for his family right now, but they've had trouble selling. The flood insurance they are required to pay as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 has turned off potential buyers.
"My wife was in Colorado and we were trying to move out that way and it just never happened because the flood insurance is so high," Vestal said.
For now, he said, he and his wife still love the neighborhood because it's so close to the creek and its recreational trails.
"This is a very nice neighborhood," said Bettendorf Director of Community Development John Soenksen, who's in charge of the project. "I would not characterize this as a depressed area. But the people have come to Bettendorf and said we can’t afford to keep making these flood insurance payments, and we’re asking you to buy us out," he said.
The nearly $3-million project is mostly funded by the federal government, to the tune of $2.2 million. The state will provide $300,000 and the city of Bettendorf will kick in $440,000. In total, the city plans to buy up to 22 houses in the neighborhood.