City of Sioux Falls looks to buy properties near Tomar Park after March flooding event

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The City of Sioux Falls is looking to buy 55 properties that were affected by flooding back in March. Letters were sent out to owners recently, asking them to voluntarily sell their property near Tomar Park. A first reading of appropriations to start buying the homes will be heard in city council Tuesday.

On March 14th, many homeowners and property owners were rescued by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue after high water took over the neighborhood near Tomar Park in Sioux Falls.

"When we had the flash flood in early March, we don't have enough time to mobilize in those incidents, and that's what really hit those homeowners hard," T.J. Nelson said, who is the deputy chief of staff for Mayor Paul TenHaken.

So now the city has sent letters to property owners in the area, asking if they would like to sell their houses.

"We sent letters to them recently asking them to express their interest and also let us know if we can come and evaluate and assess any flood damage to their homes," he said. "Our goal is to help the folks who have uninhabitable homes at the moment, get out of those properties."

He said the city spent about $100,000 protecting that area from another potential flooding event in March. It's historically the most affected when flood waters start to rise.

"We don't want that area to flood any more and have people devastated by flash floods or events that we don't have time to mobilize to protect their homes," Nelson said.

He said there is an overwhelming majority of homeowners and commercial property owners in the area interested in selling their property at some point. Long-term, the city will look to return that area to green space and expand Tomar Park. The Mayor's office is asking the city council to appropriate $1 million to start this voluntary buyout process.

KSFY News spoke to several homeowners in the area that did not want to go on camera for this story. Some said they wanted the city to buy their home and others said they wanted to stay in their home and not give it up.