One flood-recovery landmark has been reached.
All 70 of the worst-damaged properties – the ones with purple placards signifying they were too unsafe to enter – have now all been demolished, City Hall reports.
The last of the properties, most of which were homes, came down at the end of April.
The demolition effort took some months to start after a couple false starts over bidding.
Some of the job was done by winter, when it then had to take a break because water used to control possible asbestos dust from the properties would have frozen. The properties were so unsafe that crews couldn’t enter to assess asbestos materials inside. As a result, all the demolition debris had to be treated as asbestos-containing material.
In recent months, city officials successfully lobbied the Federal Emergency Management Agency to have the agency pay for the demolition of another 200 or 300 or so homes. Those are the ones, also considered too unsafe to enter, with red placards in the city’s best-to-worst system of green, yellow, red and purple placards.
Those demolitions are expected to begin in July once paperwork requirements are satisfied, city officials said this week.
In total, the city estimates it may buy out and demolish 1,300 homes and other properties at a total cost of $175 million.
Much of the buyout money will come from federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and the city is expecting word any time from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development of the next large release of CDBG disaster money.
In the meantime, the city has set up a buyout assessment system and is in the process of interviewing those wanting a buyout whose homes qualify.