Austin residents wait for flood buyout offers

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 17 at 5:10 AM

AUSTIN -- The city's buyout program is underway in the flood-ravaged Onion Creek area.

The Halloween floods impacted nearly 700 homes and killed five people in Central Texas. Travis County estimates the damage at more than $100 million.

In the Onion Creek neighborhood, 116 homes are slated for city buyout. Block after block there are entire streets with boarded up homes, broken fences and signs of life that used to be.

Manuela Alcantar and her husband live in a home that’s marked for buyout, but they haven’t heard anything yet.

“We're on buyout, but we don't know yet whether we'll be able to stay or go. Really, I’d rather stay here than move out, 'cause we've been here. We're too old to start somewhere else,” said Alcantar.

So far the City has made 30 buyout offers and hopes to make all offers by April.

Wendy Morgan is with the Austin Watershed Protection Department. She says all the bought-out homes will be demolished and that land will be restored to a creekside area with parkland.

However Morgan says the City will not force people to take the buyout offers.

“We are giving them the opportunity to move out of an area that has the absolute potential for flooding,” said Morgan.

Morgan says she understands how frustrating it can be to wait, but that the buyout is a long process. They get two independent appraisals at the pre-flood value. They're offering market value of the home plus a relocation package.

Volunteers are helping make repairs on the Alcantars' home. They lost everything. At one point they stayed in a hotel, then with family, but eventually they returned home so they could be with their pets.

The Austin Humane Society cared for 138 animals displaced by the flood. All but six have been reunited with family or have new homes.

The dogs below are both still looking for their owners or a new place to live.

Walter is a three-year-old brown and black boxer mix.

 Rocky is a three-year-old black and white shepherd mix.

 

 

Contact AustinHumaneSociety.org for more information.

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