WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 24, 2013, 10:05 PM

Chrisan Estates homeowners finally getting flood buyout

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - This could be the last year seven homeowners in Chrisan Estates are left sandbagging.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - This could be the last year seven homeowners in Chrisan Estates are left sandbagging.

They were approached about a buyout in 2008 and have been waiting ever since.

This week, Steve Syrdal watched a massive clay levee block his home off from the rest of the Chrisan Estates neighborhood.

Meanwhile, he and six of his neighbors are left sandbagging against the Red River.

Steve Syrdal, Chrisan Estates Resident: "It's certainly a tremendous inconvenience. We understand why they do it, and they help us by providing sandbags."

But he doesn't want to deal with this forever.

In 2008, a year before the record flood, the City of Fargo asked these homeowners if they would be willing to accept a buyout. They agreed, somewhat reluctantly.

A year later, in 2009, five of those homes flooded. But still, no buyout for the seven left behind.

Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt says that's because they've been repeatedly applying for a hazard mitigation grant.

Keith Berndt, County Administrator: "This will be the fourth year that we've built a levee and put these seven homes on the wrong side of the levee because of their proximity to the river."

For the past few years, the county has hoped to buy out about 50 homes, including those seven. Just last week, FEMA approved that funding.

Berndt: "It will really help our flood fighting efforts in the future if we can remove those homes."

Syrdal says they have filled out preliminary paperwork a few times in the past, though he does say each time seems like they're getting closer to the real thing.

Syrdal: "It is encouraging, and we were certainly aware that an attempt at that funding was in the works. I'm going to take an, 'I'll believe it when I see it' approach at this point."

Berndt says that the next step is for the homes to be appraised. The buyout process could take up to a year.

Syrdal says since they've been living under the threat of flood or buyout, it is nearly impossible to sell their homes.