April 28, 2014
The demolition of homes connected to the FEMA buyout program has begun in Binghamton. The homes were damaged during major flooding in 2011.
It took one man in an excavator six minutes to flatten the entire house. The home on the south side of Binghamton is the first of 18 the city will raze in the next month.
The demolitions are part of FEMA’s buyout program to remove structures that flooded in 2011.
Major Rich David says the demolitions are the end of a long process for the impacted families that lived in these homes.
“The buyout is the largest, last financial piece of the puzzle so that people can move forward with their lives and locate elsewhere. Hopefully in this community,” says David.
The federally funded program is for buildings with damages that exceed the value of the home. After FEMA buys the properties, no new structure can be built there, it must remain a green space.
David guesses these 18 properties will cost the city nearly 150,000 dollars annually in lost taxes. He says the city is working on ways to get the properties back on the tax rolls.
“So our limited options are looking at the nearby property owners to see if some of them have an interest in expanding their lots," says David. "Or if anybody wants to do any cosmetic or aesthetic sorts of things, such as gardens and things of that nature.”
David may be concerned about the loss of tax dollars but he says it makes sense to not build new structures on these properties.
Most of the homes scheduled for demolition have been vacant since the flood and David says it will be a good thing to remove the blight from the community.