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First house raised in flood-control program

by Linda Hiller

Finally, the first house of the flood-prevention elevation project is going up, literally.

After major flooding in the Gardnerville Ranchos neighborhood which abuts the Carson Valley Golf Course – also flooded during the same 1997 New Year’s flood – the county and several homeowners of some of the most badly-damaged homes agreed to look into physically elevating some houses above flood level.

In the beginning, approximately one dozen homeowners were interested in having their homes lifted up above the next potential high water. To date, that number has more than halved for a variety of reasons, according to Pam Jenkins, project coordinator for the Douglas County.

“It’s a very emotional thing for these homeowners,” she said.

“They’ve been out of their homes before, because of the flood, and they’re out again when they do this.”

Monies to pay for the house-raising project are coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, grants and a percentage comes from the homeowner. Total costs for the elevation of this first home are as yet undetermined, Jenkins said.

Although FEMA only stipulates that houses go up 1 foot, Douglas County is recommending 1-1/2 to 2 feet. Homeowners can opt to go even higher, providing they pay the extra costs.

Scott’s House Movers of Sacramento, licensed in California and Nevada, is doing the actual elevation of each home, Jenkins said. Homeowners will have to be out of their homes for an extended period of time while the houses go up. Owners of this first home will be out for approximately 90 days, Jenkins said.

Dick Mirgon, emergency manager for the county, said the recent announcement that the money allotted for repairs of damage from the 1997 flood were gone – are not true for Douglas County.

– Bills are paid. “We’re the only county with all our bills in and paid for,” he said. “And come spring runoff, we hope to be all done with our projects.”

Four more homes are scheduled to be raised soon, weather permitting, Jenkins said.

“Some of the homeowners are very excited, but it’s a scary thing for them, too,” she said.

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