Watertown Residents Receive Flood Relief

July  08, 2014

      The city of East Moline will help residents of a neighborhood hit the hardest by last week's thunderstorms. Last night, aldermen voted to allocate $160,000 from federal grant money to Watertown.

      Most of Watertown's residents live in low-income housing and cannot afford to pay for flood damage. City Administrator Cole O'Donnell says the money will pay for repairing and replacing water heaters and furnaces. 

      "Unfortunately, the property values in that area make it one of the few places where they might be able to purchase a home. You're going to be able to buy a house down there at a lower price than you would even a few blocks away."

       The city planned to give the money to the Watertown Community Empowerment Committee to build a community center, but the committee decided, instead to spend it on flood recovery.  On June 30th, East Moline received a large amount of rain in just 3 hours. O'Donnell says does not see how the city could have prevented the major damage. 

      "No system is designed to handle that amount of rain in that short amount of time. We will continue to evaluate making sure our systems operate to its fullest capacity, but I can't ever promise somebody that we can put in any measures down there that would prevent something like this happening again given the amount of rain we got in that short amount of time."

      East Moline officials will hold a public meeting at tonight  at 7 p.m. for residents to find out how to apply for relief.  The meeting will be held at Mount Zion Church, located at 1501 6th Avenue. 


(Photo: A basement in Watertown.)