KAMPSVILLE, IL - As a small tourist-based community in west central Illinois, the Village of Kampsville is located about 15 miles north of the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers and is along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway designated in 1999. The location of the Village, confined between the Illinois River and its forested bluffs, makes it extremely flood-prone. Prior to the Great Flood of 1993, the Village had experienced repetitive flooding, with severe damage in 1973. The 1993 flood inundated almost the entire Village for months, causing substantial damage to over a dozen buildings.
Following the 1973 flood, which was then the worst on record, the Village received a grant from FEMA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (then IDOT now IDNR) to acquire flood damaged structures. The Village acquired 34 structures using FEMA, IDNR, and Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs funds. This initial acquisition cleared much of the repetitive flood areas in the Village by acquiring structures located in the lowest portion of the floodplain.
Following the 1993 flood, the Village utilized FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to acquire damaged structures that were not acquired in the 1973 buyout. With matching funds provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, the Village acquired an additional 13 properties, now all dedicated to open space. The Village also received funding to develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan to address all hazards in the area. This plan was updated following the 1993 buyout.
The success of the buyout program was obvious during the 1993 flood: a significant reduction in damage to homes. Although several structures had flooded, the severity of the damage seen in 1973 would have been repeated and greatly intensified had there not been a buyout project implemented.
The benefits of an open floodplain were clearly evident in this Village which experiences repetitive flooding. The benefits influenced other communities and organizations as well. The mayor encouraged nearby communities to implement a buyout, saying that although it was the hardest thing, it was the best thing the Village had done. The American Red Cross was also able to direct its private contributions to other needy sources instead of the flooding damages. The reuse of the land has also been beneficial to the Village serving tourists with a campground in one area of the buyout with gravel pads and an unobstructed view of the Illinois River.