EAST GRAND FORKS, MN - The City of East Grand Forks is located in northwestern Minnesota along the Red River of the North. As a result of heavy snowfall during the winter and quick snowmelt in the spring, the Red River valley experienced a record flood in April of 1997. The City of East Grand Forks was flooded almost in its entirety, with only 1 percent of the buildings being spared any damage. The northern location of the town, in northwestern Minnesota, allows only a short building season. Therefore, an accelerated acquisition program was needed to enable flood survivors an opportunity to rebuild before the next winter.
With cooperation among FEMA, the State Division of Emergency Management, and the Governor's appointed "Minnesota Recovers" Task Force, the City of East Grand Forks received project approval to acquire 407 properties within 75 days after the disaster declaration. This allowed the City to make its first buyout offer on August 4, 1997.
All properties acquired under the accelerated program were substantially damaged residences in the 100-year floodplain. The acquired properties will become open space and eliminate the risk of flooding for more than 400 families. In addition to the 407 initial properties acquired, the City has received additional FEMA and State funding to acquire 100 rental properties for an additional $5 million. By the end of 1998, the additional 100 properties were acquired.
Standard Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program makes Federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in participating communities.