Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 5:06 PM
July marks two years since floods destroyed the Gristmill and Millstone condominium complexes in Lake County; but many property owners who lost virtually everything have still not been compensated for property the city later condemned. ideastream®'s Rick Jackson reports.
When Monday night’s Painesville city council session ended, some tempers were nearly as high as the Grand River had once been.
Dozens of displaced homeowners - most still paying mortgages on their unhabitable homes, say they need their share of government grants totaling eight million dollars.... just to move on.
But the funds are being held up because a local businessman wants to reserve the option to rebuild on the flooded land - something the terms of the grants don’t allow.
Crystal Forbes lost her condo - and is one of few who have been able to find new permanent housing.
FORBES: It will flood again. When and to what degree we don’t know. If someone wanted to develop it, then why not just rebuild our homes?
Russ Shaedlich is Painesville’s City Planner, and has assisted homeowners unraveling red tape.
SHAEDLICH: We’ve been working for two years toward that goal of getting them bought out and helping them get on with their lives. To work that far and give them that kind of hope that they could be made whole from that disaster, then to say we’ve changed our minds we’re not going to do anything—would be very devastating again.
A vote to accept the money - with its restrictions - will come July 21st…
But Forbes says even this slight delay may be the final blow to some of her former neighbors.
FORBES: FEMA assistance ran out months ago. A lot of people, if they haven’t declared bankruptcy already - are dangerously close.
If the money is accepted, mortgages on destroyed homes will be paid off, the properties will be demolished, and the land will be turned into a park.
Rick Jackson - 90.3.
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