Neosho community voices thoughts on flood buyout plans

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Neosho city leaders officially release their plans for a Community Development Block Grant to buy out certain properties in town.

“Our climate is changing and it’s just flooding now and it doesn’t matter to me why it’s flooding — it just is flooding and it’s dangerous for my family and I want to leave,” explained Neosho resident Tracy Clements.

Clements is one of the many Neosho residents concerned about the safety of people and their homes during a flood. That’s why city leaders are applying for a federal grant.

If approved, people in the affected zones can be offered buyouts and relocation assistance.

“Our option is to stay there and lose more money, so it’s best to get out now while we can and I hope they give us a fair offer that will all be determined through the intake process,” Clements added. “So I hope when we get there, it is a reasonable amount.”

John Strong is another resident who attended the hearing. He said repairng his home cost more than $30,000.

“After remodeling the whole house, it’s worth a lot more than the pre-2017 flood value, which is what they are going to base the buyout on,” Strong explained.

He’s in full support of the plan.

“I’m going to apply for it to see what I’ll get, but I can always back out,” Strong added.

The city said the grant is estimated to be 8 to 12 million dollars and participating in the buyout is voluntary. Most who spoke at the hearing were concerned about if they didn’t participate in the buyout–they would not receive help from the city in case of a future flood.

“People are concerned about what is causing the flooding and I think a lot of them want the city to fix what’s causing the flooding,” said Clements. “I think if the city knew and could fix what’s causing the flooding, they would have already done it.”

The city will be applying for the grant by the end of the month. It is unclear how long they will have to wait for a response.

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