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Watseka awarded $5-million DNR buy-out grant

Flood victims in Watseka will finally get some of the mitigation help local officials have been waiting on.

Several months of negotiations with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have been finalized, according to Watseka Mayor John Allhands.

A $5-million dollar grant offers a voluntary buy-out allowing residents with substantially- flood damaged homes to sell their property at a pre-flood value. The city would then buy the property thru the grant process.

Allhands reports it’ll be a two-phase process --- owner-occupied homes get first priority, then the second phase is rental properties.

Many of the eligible property owners have been notified by letters mailed. Appraisals will be completed followed by negotiations with property owners.

The mayor explained the city will need to incur initial expenses, then the city is reimbursed thru the grant. He said there’s several people in the community that’ve had to suffer thru flood after flood. This, he said, will finally offer a fresh start.

94.1 WGFA