Keith Creek Settlement Passed by City Council

Keith Creek Settlement Passed by City Council

ROCKFORD – A settlement years in the making over a Rockford neighborhood drowned in flood waters ends Monday night. But the $2.5 million price tag is coming out of tax payers' pockets.
ROCKFORD – Residents near Keith Creek whose houses were damaged by two disastrous floods, receive financial compensation Monday night. And it's been a long time coming.  Pastor Stephen Klemp hosts neighborhood association meetings at his church, “The first meeting that we had down here in this room, was nearly a riot.  People were really mad and frustrated.  Because, two floods in 11 month, it just seems ridiculous."

Though the church wasn't involved in the law suit, they too experienced damage.  During the last flood in August of 2007, three feet of water poured into their basement. Klemp says, “We wanted to be able to be part of the solution and not create any enemies.  When you create a law suit, there's winners and losers and we wanted to be a little more neutral."

Residents say the city knew the area was pronged to flooding and according to Klemp, even had a project 25 years in the making to widen the problematic creek.  But now, tax payers have to pay the two point five million dollar price tag to compensate those affected by the flood. Patrick Hayes is Rockford’s Legal Director. “Every dollar we spend here regardless of its source is from the tax payers or is the tax payers' money."

As for how the settlement will be divvied up, that hasn't been figured out yet.  Hayes explains, “The size of the loss will effect the size of the pay out.  the exact math of that will be determined over time."

But even the pay check won't be able to settle everyone's nerves.  Klemp says, “There's still fear. People don't sleep well at night when it rains hard around here. And that's even six, seven years--or seven or eight years after these floods."

Council unanimously passed the settlement tonight and will make 3 equal payments to residents over the next fifteen months.
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