Continued flooding along the Missouri River has the potential to damage or destroy homes across the state.
For those whose homes become uninhabitable, the Vermillion Area Chamber & Economic Development Company (VCDC) is offering up to $5,000 to relocate or rebuild in Clay County, it was announced Wednesday, June 15.
�We do see this as an economic development issue,� said VCDC�s executive director Steve Howe. �We want to make sure that if people are forced to make a life decision that requires relocation that they stay in this area.�
Three one-time grant funding options will be provided through the Vermillion Now! Economic Development Initiative:
� A $3,000 payment for homes purchased between $100,000 and $149,000,
� A $4,000 payment for homes valued at $150,000 and above and
� A $5,000 payment for new construction
The program is administered only under VCDC, and not the City of Vermillion or Clay County.
Grants will be available at least through August, Howe said.
�If the Corps says they�re going to increase the flows, or they�re going to keep it longer than August, than obviously, we can be flexible with our program to address this need,� he said.
Although the program has been in effect for just more than a week, Howe said at least one Clay County family is considering taking part, and others have inquired with an eye toward exploring their options.
�We know the water�s at the volume capacity right now. (We don�t know) what that�s going to do to the banks and what that�s going to mean with water running this fast, this high for the next two months,� he said.
Howe added that living in Clay County is not a requirement for participation � anyone in the state with a home damaged by the flood is eligible.
The program was first discussed Thursday, June 9 and was finalized the next Tuesday.
�Literally, this all happened in less than a week,� Howe said. �That�s one of the things that we pride ourselves on at the Vermillion Area Chamber & Economic Development Company, that we can be responsive. That if something needs to get done, we can get it done in a short period of time. � We�re fortunate being a private entity, that we can act more quickly on these things.�
Howe said this is the first time VCDC has undertaken a grant program of this nature, and that he is unaware of any similar programs elsewhere in the state or the region.
�It would be nice if we were able to encourage other counties and communities to do that,� he said. �Again, this is not just a Clay County issue. We�re trying to make sure from a state perspective � that we�re taking care of our own, and that we�re encouraging people who are displaced to stay here.�
Information about the program can be obtained by calling VCDC at 605-624-5571 or 800-809-2071.
Enrollment applications are available online at http://www.vermillionchamber.com/.