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DuPage County applies for $7 million flood relief grant

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:59 p.m. CDT

Those hit by the April 2013 floods may get a fresh wave of relief this spring, as the DuPage County Board approved a plan during its meeting Tuesday to apply for a $7 million Flood Assistance Grant.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant could allow the county's Stormwater Management Department to purchase up to 14 additional homes in floodplain areas and rehabilitate 60 homes effected by the April floods, according to the plan.

It could also expand municipalities' ability to fund property buyouts and infrastructure and offer about $3 million toward the construction of the Klein Creek watershed project at Armstrong Park in Carol Stream.

The county has operated a Buyout Program since 1991, the plan said, and has already purchased more than 100 homes and identified 223 more that are eligible.

It is often difficult to find permanent, cost-effective solutions for properties on severe flood plains, said Director of Community Services Mary Keating.

"You have two, three, four, five (weather) instances and now they can actually address the reality ... that certain areas should have never been developed," said board member Gary Grasso.

The project would add $500,000 to a 50-percent match fund for municipalities applying to buy out homes, Keating said.

DuPage County Stormwater Management Chief Project Engineer Sara Hunn said program participants are required not to buy property in a county flood area again.

Future beneficiaries will be identified from existing lists of buyout and rehabilitation candidates. The grant requires that at least 50 percent of funding goes to low or moderate-income areas.

Hunn said the grant would likely mean full construction of the Klein Creek project could be undertaken at once instead of in three phases.

She said the project was chosen because it was considered "shovel-ready" to meet the deadlines of the grant, which requires all money be spent by September 2019.

"(Housing and Urban Development) has a very specific timeline and deadline, and there was a lot of money to figure out how to work within their parameters so quickly," she said. "It just so happens we were able to put it together quickly and efficiently to maximize what DuPage County could get from them in terms of funding."

The department has 45 days to review the plan, Keating said, before it is approved or returned for modifications.

The full proposed action plan can be found at www.dupageco.org/cdbg-dr/.

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Funding breakdown

• Klein Creek watershed flood control project – $3.01 million

• Purchasing homes in flood-prone areas – $2.7 million

• Municipal match program for buyout and infrastructure – $500,000

• Planning and administration – $490,000

• Rehabilitating households – $300,000

• Total – $7 million

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Municipalities with most confirmed affected properties

• Downers Grove – 1,062 homes

• Elmhurst – 979 homes

• Lombard – 863 homes

• Wheaton – 772 residential properties

• Naperville – 652 homes

• Villa Park – 558 homes

• Lisle – 403 residences and businesses

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Spending timeline:

• Federal department reviews plan within 45 days

• DuPage County receives $1.5 million to be expended within two years

• Further amendments to the request must be submitted by June 1, 2017

• All funds must be expended by Sept. 29, 2019 or within two years of the department's obligation of final funds, whichever is sooner

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