“Eligible Applicant” Doesn’t Guarantee Money For Lake Delhi
By Addison Speck, Reporter
LAKE DELHI, Iowa - A stamp of approval could result in millions of dollars to Lake Delhi. On Thursday, FEMA officials approved Lake Delhi to be an eligible applicant for funding. How much, if any, money is still unclear, but the news is keeping supporters and investors optimistic.
Leaders applied for FEMA help after 2008 flood damage. They were initially granted some money, but right before the dam broke in July 2010, a regional FEMA office stopped the process claiming the lake didn’t qualify for aide. It basically put those working to rebuild in a holding pattern. On Thursday, FEMA reversed its decision, but it doesn’t come with a guarantee.
“There are more questions than answers in this whole thing,” said Dave Fry. Fry is an authorized FEMA representative for the Lake Delhi Taxing District. When news spread that the Lake Delhi taxing district is once again eligible to apply for FEMA funding, Fry and many other lake leaders were relieved. “To have it reaffirmed on the national level is really positive news for the lake and the community,” said Steve Leonard, President of the Lake Delhi Taxing District.
While it’s a step in the right direction, leaders said it’s too soon to know what it will all mean. “Number one, we don’t really know the answers to if there is any FEMA funding out there, and number two, what might actually qualify as a FEMA eligible project for us,” said Fry. KCRG asked Fry if being an eligible applicant will guarantee them even a dime. “It doesn’t guarantee us anything,” Fry responded.
This could provide some reassurance for those who have, or plan, to invest in the lake. “‘I’m hoping that the news of FEMA, in addition to all the other key stake-holders who have stepped up to this will keep it going and be optimistic there, so people don’t leave,” said Leonard. “It should give all the stake-holders that are participating in this rebuilding project a lot of comfort to know that if something were to happen in the future we certainly have the eligibility of FEMA if some disaster were to occur,” added Fry.
Leaders said if they receive money from FEMA it would help bring back a better lake after so much was washed away. They say it will take more than just rebuilding a dam and putting water back in the lake. Leonard added there is a lot of beach enhancement and lake repairing to do for a full refurbishment. But it’s unclear as to when leaders will know if FEMA is chipping in. “What we do know is it has taken us two years to get to this point, it’s probably going to take us quite a while to figure out all the details that go along with it,” said Fry.
Now Lake Delhi Taxing District leaders will have to work with FEMA and Iowa Homeland Security to determine where to go from here. Lake Delhi leaders told KCRG, with or without FEMA money, people should expect to see some dirt moving in the area soon. Lake Delhi supporters already pulled together about $12 million. Add that to the $5 million in state aid, $3 million from Deleware County Bonds, $6 million from local taxes, and $1.7 million from a private fundraising campaign.
FEMA also approved up to $9.2 million for Lakewood Benefited Recreational Lake District in Warren County.
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