Floodplain building demolition nears in Pearl City

PEARL CITY – Work to tear down homes damaged by July flooding could start as soon as next week.

The Pearl City Council voted Oct. 2 to approve Kleckner Demolition from Stockton demolishing the first five of 22 properties in a 100-year floodplain. The most recent severe flooding took place in late July.

"We applied for a federal grant, but had to wait for the state," Mayor Robert Knoup said.

Knoup said Kleckner will remove the first five properties starting Oct. 17, with another seven to be bid later in October.

A previous Prairie Advocate story reported Pearl City suffered repetitive structural flood losses in 2002, 2008, 2010, and 2011, when significant flooding occurred on the Pecatonica River that caused extremely high water levels on Yellow Creek, as well as tremendous backwater conditions on the Goldmine Tributary.

Even though not all structures included in the project are mapped into either the Goldmine Tributary or Yellow Creek floodplain, backwater from the river created significant water levels around structures outside the 100-year floodplain. Historically, many residents and a few commercial property owners were forced to evacuate each time flooding occurred.

Under the Pearl City Flood Hazard Mitigation agreement, the federal government will provide 75 percent of the $2.1 million needed to acquire and remove those floodplain properties designated as affected by repetitive flooding, and the state of Illinois would provide the remaining 25 percent.

The $2.1 million will fund demolition of 22 structures and clearing of their properties, and reshaping the properties to safe and manageable conditions. Once the state completed a budget, the state funds became available to release so the project could proceed.

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