The college town is seeking federal funds to buy up homes damaged by flooding

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – One of the St. Louis suburbs hardest hit by the historic flash flooding in July just passed a deadline to apply for federal flood funds for takeovers.

University city officials had until just before midnight Saturday to formally submit a tens-of-million-dollar application to buy up weary homeowners and land.

City Manager Gregory Rose hopes to get about $40 million for takeovers and other measures to combat flooding.

“When the President declared this a disaster, it opened up a program where we can now apply for these funds,” Rose said. “

He says the city should be able to buy up around 300 homes condemned after July’s floods. The university town also wants to include some of the other houses that are flooded again and again.

Rose says about 75 percent of the $40 million the city is seeking would come from federal funds. The university would still need a 25 percent match to grant their wishes.

Despite the situation, the university town narrowly met Friday’s deadline to apply for help.

“We have a lot of projects going on and we wanted to make sure we did our due diligence well,” Rose said of the last-minute application.

Residents, including some who have lost everything, say they will just wait and see what comes next.

“All my life I’ve sat on this curb and got picked up by the tras,” said Deanna Anderson. “I have a government playing games with me, but U-City officials see a light at the end of this dark tunnel.”

Some have accused officials of being lax on the flood issue. Others have criticized the city for waiting just before the deadline to apply for funds much needed by residents.

“I figured out how to do it and told them a month ago, so wait until the day before, you have no intention of actually helping people,” Anderson said.

If funding is approved, some of the first homes to be bought are along Wilson Avenue, an area that started a buyout program in 2010. It’s unclear how quickly the money could be available to residents. The college town is seeking federal funds to buy up homes damaged by flooding

Sarah Y. Kim

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