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Homeowners one big step closer to possible Silverleaf federal buyout program

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GONZALES - Homeowners in a flood prone neighborhood in Gonzales are one step closer to moving to higher ground. The City says it has made progress helping those on Silverleaf St. get a federal buyout.

All 40-plus applications have been sent in to the USDA. The City struggled to find some property owners who owned lots on the street. That’s complete. Now, the residents have to wait for those applications to be approved and then appraisals will be done.

“I was glad to hear it,” said Herb Smith.

Smith has lived on Silverleaf St. for more than 24 years.

“If I could just take the house, move it to another neighborhood with all the neighbors it would suit me just fine,” he said. “It’s really quiet back here, everybody knows everybody.”

And everybody knows the street, and houses on it, floods often. Drainage can't keep up.

“You can't get relaxed,” said Ann Joseph. “All of the ditches fill with water.”

Many are relieved to see the process of the federal buyout move forward. But, there’s still a lot up in the air. If everyone’s approved, homeowners will get an offer on their house. The problem is, some could chose not to accept that offer.

“It could get bad and hopefully it doesn't,” said Patrick Creel.

With the buyout the houses would be demolished and the street would be restored to wetlands. Chief Engineer Jackie Baumann told WBRZ they haven't talked about the possibility of someone not accepting the buyout. She says she is working on finding additional funding opportunities to help assist with relocation if someone needs it. But says she is unable to provide details on that funding right now.

Many who live on Silverleaf St. say the pleasant neighborhood doesn't outweigh the stress, so moving is the best option. An option some hope everyone will be on board with.

“You're going to be stuck with a property that’s flooding that no one can buy. You can't sell it. You're going to eat the price,” said Creel. “At least give the people the chance that want to get out, to get out.”


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