GIBSON CITY, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s been three months since catastrophic flooding devastated Gibson City. The flood left hundreds displaced, dozens homeless and caused millions in dollars in damage.
Over the last week, several structures that were destroyed by the water were razed. One of those was Howard Curry’s house. It was too traumatic for his wife to be there in person when the house came down, let alone watch the video Howard captured.
“My wife could not come up here. It was just too traumatic for her. It was 24 years, we raised a family here. It was sad. We lost 95% of what we had so there wasn’t a lot we could get out of the house,” said Curry.
While the home they lived in was condemned and torn down, they plan to rebuild. And they plan to rebuild better than ever.
“We’re going to try and build (Pam) the house she’s always wanted.”
But while Howard and his family are on the road forward, others aren’t sure what’s next. Donna Cathey was a caretaker for residents who lived at the Meadow Village Apartments. People who called that place home were handicap, elderly, or ill. They were especially vulnerable to the flooding. But they are also vulnerable to the recovery.
The residents who live there are scattered around the area, but their heart remains behind on North State Street, a place they’ve called home and found community.
The Meadow Village Apartments are managed by a local company, DAK Management, but they are funded and owned by the USDA Rural Development HUD. While the residents want back, it’s the USDA that gets the final say on what happens to those apartments.
So far, bids have been solicited to find out the cost of renovating the apartments. While the residents want to come back, they aren’t allowed to until the damage is repaired and the homes made habitable. That cost could be too high, as the buildings were built in the 1970s. If renovations do take place, they’ll have to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act and rebuild to code, something that will cost more money.
In spite of the slow recovery for the Meadowbrook Apartments, Donna continues to remain optimistic for the residents on North State Street.
“The silver lining to all of this is you understand what a wonderful, caring and giving community Gibson City is.”
While the recovery process continues in Gibson City, there still are many unmet needs. The Gibson Area House Rehab Foundation (GAHRF) has been working to get residents appliances, renovate homes and help in any way they can. They also are welcoming a disaster response team in February to help repair homes. You can learn more by visiting their Facebook Page.