Evergreen residents inch closer to relocation

The front of Evergreen Village in Sycamore, Ill. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.
The front of Evergreen Village in Sycamore, Ill. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

SYCAMORE – DeKalb County is ready to start the process of relocating mobile-home park residents who live in a flood plain.

County officials recently received the $4.2 million federal grant announced six months ago, paving the way to craft a rough timeline for relocating the people who live in the 129-unit Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park, 955 E. State St., said Gary Hanson, DeKalb County administrator.

Hanson said while the county is eager to act to move residents before major flooding that occurred in 2007 and 2008 happens again, officials cannot afford a misstep in the process because it would mean the loss of federal dollars.

“When the federal government gives you money, they put in all kind of stipulations, and we have to make sure we fully understand those before we start,” Hanson said.

The mobile-home park is located in a flood plain that has flooded severely twice in the past six years, requiring emergency federal assistance both times.

The process, which is expected to take anywhere from 18 months to two years, will include public hearings, individual meetings with homeowners in the park and property value updates. It also will include partnerships with the DeKalb County Housing Authority and Sycamore School District 427 to help with the residents’ transitions.

When the move does happen, Michelle Perkins said her organization would do everything it could to place people in affordable and nearby housing. Perkins, executive director of the DeKalb County Housing Authority, said while Section 8 and low-income housing wait lists are full, preference is given to those who are involuntarily displaced.

Jeremiah Moore, who lives in the park and works there as the maintenance man, said while it is a stressful situation, he hopes it becomes a reality.

“If we ever get bought out, I’ll be out of a job, but what’s right is right and these people deserve to be safe,” he said. “Once you go through one flood, you’ve gone through enough.”

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