Floodplain Relief Program kicks off

With all of the recent flooding, many homes and businesses in La Crosse are at risk because they’re sitting in a floodplain.

But a program in La Crosse now has the funding to change that.

After nearly three years of working out funds and details, La Crosse’s Floodplain Relief Program is officially on its way to help residents and property owners who have been affected by flooding.

The high chances of flooding in the area are forcing residents and property owners to pay anywhere between $500 and $3,000 of flood insurance each year.

But some major changes in the city could help put an end to some long-standing issues.

“There is some great opportunities for people that are in a floodplain, I alone have 800 homes in a floodplain in my district alone,” said Andrea Richmond, city council member.

An annual grant of $250,000 is available city-wide for those who apply and officials say that amount will benefit the city in a number of ways.

“To reduce their cost, to get renovations done through the help of the city and hopefully take them out of the floodplain with what is being done and reduce any floodplain insurance or not have any at all which would be great,” Richmond said.

Each Resident and business owner living in a floodplain, may apply for between $5,000 or $20,000 of construction costs–city officials say it’s an opportunity that can go a long way.

“With again about 1,300 homes and 200 businesses, there is a large impact city wide, what we’re trying to do here is to offer another type of program that an individual or property owner would be able to get their property out of the floodplain and so they would no longer then have to be paying flood insurance, they would work through our process to identify their flood risk,” said Mayor Tim Kabat.

La Crosse’s floodplain properties could serve as an example of some of those risks, but officials say the city is now much more prepared for high water.

“Additional fill or landscaping or other flood proofing measures to mitigate any risk that they would have,” Kabat said.

The initial round of funding will be provided as a pilot program and the city will be considering an initial round of five applicants through July 2017.

To qualify for the program, applicants’ homes and businesses must be located in a flood zone and property must have a value of $50,000 or greater.