City of Sioux Falls Proposes Buyout for Homes in Floodplain Area

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- After one neighborhood got hit hard by spring flooding, the City of Sioux Falls could be buying some of those homes. Last week, neighbors received a letter from Sioux Falls Planning and Development Services about a buyout proposal.

Back in March, folks near Lotta and Rose Street off Minnesota Avenue experienced intense flooding that caused terrible damage to many people’s houses.

“It was definitely a surreal experience,” said neighbor Jennifer Jungemann.

It’s a scene the City of Sioux Falls doesn’t want neighbors to ever experience again.

“There’s not enough time to mobilize to protect those homes in those situations and there’s nothing that can say or guarantee that a flash flood would not affect that area again in the future without some type of mitigation issues,” said T.J. Nelson, Deputy Chief of Staff.

So the city wants to offer voluntary purchases to 55 homes and commercial properties in the floodplain area.

“We’ll asses that from the pre-flood conditions. So if someone had a collapsed basement for instance, we would not take into account that damage that was sustained from the flooding,” said Nelson.

The city plans remove the houses and transform the space into land that would expand onto Tomar Park.

“This is the most economically viable solution for the taxpayer and also the best option for those homeowners long term,” said Nelson.

Jungemann has lived off Lotta street for ten years. She’s come to love this neighborhood.

“Hearing the news, I mean it does make you a little sad. I am so grateful that I’ve had all these years to raise my son in this neighborhood. It’s a beautiful neighborhood,” said Jungemann.

As her family grows, Jungemann planned on selling the house this summer. However, this news leaves her uncertain of what will happen in the future. Her house received only minor water damage and the city says their priority is buying the uninhabitable homes first.

“How quickly does that mean they’ll get to us?” said Jungemann.

Funding for this proposal still needs to be approved by city council, so Jungemann and her neighbors hope to learn more about what’s to come of their neighborhood in the upcoming months.

City officials say they are taking into account that some homeowners may not want to sell right now, so they expect it to take several years before the city has purchased all the houses in the floodplain.

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