While the levee request made at the Monday, Sept. 16 meeting in Des Moines was, without a doubt, the most important award, the buy out aid received from the Flood Recovery Fund was hardly a small accomplishment.
Residents of the south end of Hamburg, 73 homes, faced 11 feet of water in their houses and total devastation.
The future in south Hamburg is bleak since the elevation is low and a rebuild is not in the cards.
That’s where a buy out would come in, but in order for it to happen, Hamburg had to have 15 percent of the buy out award, a total of $940,856.55. They got it from the Flood Recovery Fund.
Although federal dollars for buy outs are not yet available, the people of Hamburg have been told that federal money would be coming next year. “The good news is that we have our 15 percent, so we won’t be the ones holding up our people from moving forward,” said Mayor Cathy Crain.
What does a buy out mean?
The money from a buy out is for acquisition from the owner, demolition, hauling and project management cost, just to name a few things. Property would then revert to the City of Hamburg, but could not be used for permanent structures and will be likely designated as green space.
Those who choose not to take the buy out will be faced with cleaning up the property, demolition of structures, maintenance cost of the property and tax payments.
What’s the future of south Hamburg? It may be too early to ask such a question. But, given buy outs by the residents, a park could be a possibility. It could be a trailhead for a local trail that connects to Hamburg. And that project might be eligible for Iowa Department of Natural Resources funding. Maybe a university would use the area for a project space. There is a farming option too.
How about an Old Town Hamburg memorial plaque?
All those thoughts are simply brainstorming and dreaming.
The first of all steps will be to get the people, the residents of that part of town, involved in the process.
“I can’t speak for the (City) Council, but I would hope that we would do a committee with people who grew up there. That’s there home—those addresses,” said Crain. “They need to decide—not us. There is a lot of legacy down there.”