NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho City Council on Tuesday approved the final steps required to complete its application for Community Development Block Grants, intended for buying out the properties of victims of 2017 flooding.
A seventh zone was added by council members after a unanimous vote. Residency in one of the zones is generally required to participate in the buyout program, but does not obligate a property owner to sell the property.
Zone 7 encompasses an area roughly along the east side of Neosho Boulevard between Walnut Drive and South Street. The other six zones that the city approved are:
• Zone 1 roughly follows Riverside Drive and Stratford Place eastward similar to the path of Hickory Creek, then drops down Shartel Drive, ending at South Street.
• Zone 2 roughly follows Lafayette Street south from Maple Street to about Glenview Place.
• Zone 3 lies immediately north of Zone 2 and encompasses mainly White Avenue from Chestnut Street to Elm Street.
• Zone 4 encompasses an area on the eastern side of Highway 86, including its curve to the east after Brook Street.
• Zone 5 is north of Highway 86 and stretches in a northeasterly direction to about Smith Avenue.
• Zone 6 is a small zone that includes portions of Main, Jefferson and Wall streets.
The city has until the end of October to turn in the application to the state. The city expects to hear how much money will be awarded for buyouts in November or December.
If the state awards grant funding, then the next step will be for the city to choose an appraiser before the end of the year. That appraiser would be in charge of performing appraisals of each property and making offers to property owners. Offers to property owners are expected to be presented sometime in 2020.
Flood victims who attended a buyout meeting last week voiced concerns that the amounts they would be offered would not be enough for them to purchase another property.
Attendees of that meeting were told that they could expect offers for their property to be made at 2017's pre-flood valuation. If a victim received financial assistance from FEMA for recovering from 2017's flooding, that amount would be deducted from the buyout offer.
Properties that are bought out would eventually be cleared and used as open space, wetlands management or park space.