Olive Branch flood victims consider relocation - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Olive Branch flood victims consider relocation

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OLIVE BRANCH, IL (KFVS) - Some residents in an Alexander County community look at plans to relocate after May flooding. Olive Branch residents say it's time to go, but they don't want to go too far. Plans are in the works to move out of the flood zone area, to another site possibly on the other side of Route 3, or toward Thebes.

However, now people in town say they feel like they are in limbo, as they wait to find out if the money to move will come through.

"Everybody's still in shock because of this," said James Dunn, an Olive Branch resident who applied for assistance.

He's one of 150 households that applied for a flood buyout through FEMA.

"We still haven't heard back from them," said Dunn. "People here need to know what they will decide so that we can make plans for where we will live."

According to FEMA representatives at the federal level, the applications still haven't reached their office. The requests have to go through several levels before FEMA gets the final approval.

Almost all the homeowners who applied for a buyout are now considering relocating to one site.

"The vast majority want to stay but there's no available areas outside of the flood plain," said County Engineer, Jeff Denny. "So we are working to develop a site."

Denny says local committees and Southern Illinois University are working on securing grants for funding.

"We're looking at a number of different places," said Denny. "This process will take quite a while."

Denny says relocation is one way to keep Olive Branch from dying. He says the community can't afford to lose 150 households.

"That's about half the homes in Olive Branch," said Denny.

In Olive Branch, people say they feel community is important.

"I love it here," said Kevin Henderson.

Henderson says he would be hoping to relocate with other flood victims, but his insurance allowed him to raise his house seven feet off the ground. He says he's lucky, and hoping things will work out for others in the community.

"The water may never come up again, but then again it might," said Henderson.

A series of community meetings are in the works to discuss relocation. Those dates will be announced in the coming days.

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