MSD to buy out homes in frequently flooded neighborhood


by Adam Walser

Posted on August 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 27 at 5:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Metropolitan Sewer District's Board voted Monday to spend millions of dollars to buy up homes in a west Louisville neighborhood that is frequently flooded.

The combined state, federal and local effort will cost about $9.7 million, but MSD officials say it may be the only solution for the frequent flooding.

When Pamela Malone helped build her Habitat home on Maple Street back in 2005, she believed it would be her dream home, where she would one day retire.

But her plans didn't work out.

“Everything downstairs was destroyed,” Malone said of the house, which flooded during the Great Flood of 2009 sending several feet of water into the home, causing her to have to strip off sheet rock and remove carpeting.

Malone hasn't lived in the house since.

“My mortgage is $317 a month,” Malone said. ”I can't afford to let it go. And I really can't afford to keep it. “

That's why Malone and her neighbors are happy that MSD has approved a new program to buy up 128 frequently flooded homes in the neighborhood, many of which are already abandoned.

75 percent of the grant will come from FEMA.

State and local governments will split the remainder of the costs.

The money will be used to buy and demolish houses, remove asbestos, relocate renters and create green space where the homes used to be.

Most long-term residents, who have been flooded countless times over the years, say it's a welcome relief.

“You can't live like that. No one is supposed to live like that. Coming through and getting up out of here because we've been long enough going through it, and I’m tired,” said Dwaye Haynes, who rents a home in the neighborhood.

Residents say  every time it rains, it floods.

“You're dealing with bacteria, water setting, you've got mosquitoes,” said Kurt Mohammad, who owns Mr. Thorough, a water extraction business.

Mohammad says he gets frequent calls to Maple Street.

Other residents report strange red bugs and bad smells coming from the sewers.

MSD will begin negotiations with property owners by the end of the year.

Homeowners say they’ve been told they will be offered fair market value for their homes in early 2009, before the values plunged in the neighborhood after the flood.