Gulfport gets $7.5 million flood buyout

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley today visited the Village of Gulfport to announce $7.5 million in federal IKE Disaster Recovery funds for Henderson County and Gulfport. Funding will support property buyouts and other related activities for residential and business owners in communities affected by the floods and storm disasters that occurred in 2008, and provide planning assistance to prepare for long term recovery.

"Several western Illinois counties were deeply impacted by the 2008 floods, so we have been working with local officials and citizen groups to get these communities back on their feet," said Director Ribley. "This funding demonstrates Governor Quinn and DCEO’s commitment to helping these communities recover, and lay the groundwork for future economic development."

Henderson County was directly impacted by severe flooding in Illinois in 2008 as outlined in FEMA Disaster Declaration 1771. Gulfport is completely inside the 100 year flood plain and was almost completely destroyed by the flood. There remains an urgent need to plan for relocation outside of the 100 year flood plain to provide residents with a newly incorporated village.

"This funding is absolutely critical for the people of Gulfport who have suffered prolonged hardship as a result of the 2008 floods,” said Congressman Phil Hare (D-17). “I commend DCEO for providing this assistance and remain committed to doing everything I can on the federal level to make Gulfport and its residents whole once again.”

The State's $7.5 million investment will support property buyout assistance for approximately 75 homeowners in Gulfport and other parts of Henderson County. The properties will be acquired by the county on behalf of property owners that endured the devastating loss of their homes, and provide assistance to relocate residents from harm's way and lessen the effects of future disasters.

“This IKE funding will allow Gulfport and Henderson County to move forward and recover from the disaster," said County Board Chair Marty Lafary. "I want to thank DCEO for listening to the concerns of our communities, and working with us in providing this assistance."

Illinois received more than $169 million in IKE Disaster Recovery Program funding to support eligible communities suffering the direct or indirect impacts of floods and storm disasters. This special allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding was made available to states impacted by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008 and resulting in federal disaster declarations. CDBG disaster recovery can complement FEMA funds, often picking up where FEMA funding leaves off, to support long term recovery.

“The homes and businesses in Gulfport and Henderson County were devastated by the 2008 floods," said State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville). "This funding will help their long term recovery needs. The residents of Henderson County have shown their resilience under extremely adverse conditions and this money will help put them back on the road to recovery.”

“I am very pleased that the residents of Gulfport are receiving the assistance they so desperately need,” said State Rep. Rich Myers (R-Macomb). “This funding will assist a great many residents of Gulfport in their efforts to relocate and rebuild their homes and begin to bring some stability back to their everyday lives.”

Separate funding under the state's Midwest Disaster Recovery program will be made available for road and other public improvements in Henderson County as a result of the 2008 storms. DCEO is currently assessing the level of funding that could be approved. Along with the IKE program vendor team, DCEO will be conducting workshops this November on behalf of the residents and communities of Gulfport and Henderson County to explain the process of applying for funding made available through the IKE program.

Program funding criteria and forms are provided with each IKE application guidebook, which can be downloaded online at www.ildceo.net/disasterrecovery. Eligible communities may submit applications for most IKE- programs on an ongoing basis until all funding has been awarded.

DCEO's Office of Community Development will have other IKE programs available soon, including the Planning and Technical Assistance programs and the Affordable Rental Housing Program, overseen by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). For updates and additional information, including a full listing of all 41 eligible counties, please visit www.ildceo.net/disasterrecovery.