It has been six weeks since flooding forced Pacific Junction, IA residents to leave their homes. They were allowed to return a couple weeks ago and survey the damage.
On Wednesday night they found out if they can return for good or if they’ll have to rebuild. “People want to get back in their homes,” says resident Fran Parr.
Mills County representatives said it could take two to four years to rebuild the town. The damage done to the 219 homes is severe. Every one is temporarily tagged, some are unsafe to step foot in.
“There were some homes that there was some structural damage that was very apparent, visually,” Mills County Emergency Management Director, Larry Hurst told 6 News.. “Part of the foundation was gone. Part of the wall was sagging in or something like that. Or the house was separated from the house. Those are indications that it might be an unsafe structure.”
With a complete assessment of their houses still pending, residents are unsure if they’ll be able to rebuild at all or if they even want to. “We want to make smart decisions, and not just rebuild and not have protections,” Parr says.
Residents at Wednesday night’s meeting in Glenwood were told the local levee breach at Pony Creek will be repaired by next week. Two other breaches impacting the town will take longer to fill as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes its way north from Hamburg.
“That’s going to be a big problem. It’s going to be a big problem,” says Parr. “It’s everyone that’s west of I-29 right now and south in the county that’s at risk,” Hurst says. A risk a number of life-long Pacific Junction residents may not be willing to take.
A never-ending fear that if they re-build, this could all happen again if those levees aren’t secure. “I’ll be honest. I’m undecided. My husband is probably a little less undecided. He wants to probably get rid of the house,” Parr told 6 News.
The county is working on providing temporary housing around Pacific Junction and Glenwood.