Some communities still trying to replace destroyed homes after 2018 flood
READSTOWN, Wis. (WKBT) — You can often catch Village of Readstown Clerk Susan Mueller getting away from the paperwork and going for walks.
“I love to walk the town even in winter, it’s a nice little community.”
But there’s a certain part of town she doesn’t like to walk through.
The flood that shut down the small village may have happened one year ago.
But it left behind damage the village is still trying to recover from.
“The brown house way over the corner is abandoned, these two places are not lived in yet.”
The flood damaged several homes beyond repair. Currently, Readstown has 11 homes that aren’t livable. They’re waiting for funding to have them removed.
“We have to be patient.”
She recalls FEMA workers who worked with her on redevelopment plans, but other national disasters have taken priority.
“I can’t tell you how many FEMA people I’ve had to work with, I get to know them, and then they say “Hey Sue, I’m being sent down to Florida to help with this, so I’m going to transfer you over to this person.'”
That has significantly slowed down the process of removing the abandoned homes.
But even when it does happen, it could be a catch 22 for the village.
“There’s a lot lost when you gain green space.”
For homes removed by FEMA, the lots are called green space. They can’t be built on, and can only be turned into a public space like a park. But parks need to be maintained, something that Readstown can’t afford to do.
“You rely on your tax base to help pay for your public works employees, but when you lose 11 homes in a town and it becomes green space, you need more workers, but you have less money to pay them.”
As Sue’s walk comes to an end, she’s happy her village is continuing to work to recover from the flood.
“That’s the way it has to be. you have to as a town, village, whatever, say, ‘Okay, I’m going to start working at this.’ If you start working at it other people will come help you.”
So for Sue, that means it’s time to get back to work.
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