FEMA Buyouts Emptying Pacfic Junction

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PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa — The floods of 2019 have taken their toll on this small Mills County community. Prior to the March 17 flood there were around 210 homes hooked to City sewer in Pacific Junction. This week, there are 45 homes. There are 133 homes on the FEMA buy-out list. Those home owners would be paid a settlement, the home torn down, and made into a permanent green space.

City Clerk Korrena Nepple said the city has a grant it may use to buy some 30 of those homes, to keep open the possibility, new owners could build and keep more tax payers in town. A local fund has provided money for 7 homes to be torn down, and then the owners can sell the lots, and keep those houses on the tax rolls.

“We’re good for the most part, we’re back in school so that helps even more and we’ve been back home,” said Clydie Nelson, who has lived in Pacific Junction most of her life. “October 25 will be one year for us that we’ve been home.”

Her next door neighbors will not be staying, they’ve moved back to Council Bluffs.

“The condition of the house, it was so old just really totally destroyed it,” said Kevin Walk, who lived there with his wife for 10 years prior to the flood. “We just don’t have the money to rebuild it, we decided not to do the sell out to the government because then the town just totally disappears into green space.”

Those that are staying here are resigned that this won’t be the town it was prior to the flood.

“There are a lot of people that aren’t coming back but that’s okay it’s to each their own,” said Nelson. “The flood moved in here St. Patrick’s Day 2019, the pandemic started locking things down St. Patrick’s Day 2020, mandatory evacuations then we went to mandatory quarantine for Covid.”

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