SYCAMORE – DeKalb County officials are searching for a project manager for the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park relocation project after county board members unanimously approved the project Wednesday.
They are searching for a leader with expertise in property acquisition and relocation assistance. The project aims to move about 400 people living in the mobile home park along Route 64 in Sycamore away from the flood plain.
Evergreen Village has seen major floods in the past, including floods needing federal assistance in 2007 and 2008. The relocation project comes after years of discussion and planning from county and federal officials.
The county received a three-year $4.2 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in July and $1.5 million from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in August for the project. The total cost of the project is $5.6 million.
More than a dozen residents of Evergreen Village attended Wednesday’s County Board meeting. For the benefit of many of them, a Spanish translator was present to communicate the discussions of the County Board.
John Frieders, a Sandwich Republican from District 12, had a question about the cost of the project. He asked why people were thinking the state would come through on the money when they can’t come through with school funding.
Paul Miller, DeKalb County planning, zoning and building director, said that wasn’t a concern because the funds from FEMA and IEMA were earmarked for this project. He said the project’s budget could possibly be underfunded for relocation assistance. In the worst-case scenario, that would be an additional $1.5 million, but that cost wasn’t certain, he said.
“Enough is enough,” Miller said. “The place is going to keep getting flooded and residents are going to stay in harm’s way. We need to get them out of the flood plain.”
Evergreen Village residents will be notified by the county and invited to a public meeting to hear how the project will happen, Miller said. He said he hopes the meeting will happen in June but he’s not certain.
Julia Fauci, DeKalb Democrat for District 9, said the County Board had to keep in mind that past county boards haven’t addressed this issue and that is why it keeps persisting. Anthony Cvek, Sycamore Republican for District 4, said he didn’t think project was the perfect solution to the problem, but he saw no other way to address it.
Evergreen Village resident Melanie Watkins was at the meeting with her husband. She said she felt relieved the project was approved, but still had a lot of questions about what will happen next.
“We’re up in the air about the kind of housing they’ll get,” Watkins said. “We want to be in a home, not Section 8 housing.”