Progress Update

posted Jul 24, 2013, 11:47 AM by Beth Ellison

Hi all, Beth here.  I know many of you are anxious about hearing any news as you've relied on this site.  As many of you know, I have not been heavily involved with the process as most of the community organization is conducted by the Olive Branch Area Community Development Corporation, and the buyout grant was held up at the State level.  However, you'll be happy to know that last week the contract was signed by Illinois EMA and progress can now begin!!  Alexander County hired Southern Five Regional Planning Commission (SFRPC) to conduct the grant work.  I will be meeting with SFRPC early next week to hand over materials and they hopefully will expedite this process for you as soon as possible!

I'll continue to be involved where needed, as well as other staff and faculty here at SIU.  I have great hope for all of you and have enjoyed getting to know you!  

Please remember this will still take time and you'll be hearing from SFRPC shortly to get the ball rolling!!  :)

All the best, 


Be Informed!

posted Apr 25, 2013, 7:03 AM by Beth Ellison

Water levels are rising, and although it looks like the Olive Branch Area should be OK, it's never a bad idea to start taking precautions!  

Water levels expected to crest about next Wed/Thurs.

This picture is from The Thebes Historical Courthouse Facebook page, taken this week:

Not overnight

posted Apr 25, 2013, 6:54 AM by Beth Ellison

I know everyone is anxious about the funds finally being approved!  (and you should be, and excited too!)  However, this process does NOT happen overnight.  Remember, contracts have to be signed with the state, consultants hired, and then the county will be able to move forward with public meetings, appraisers/home inspections, etc.  Please bare with us and we WILL make sure to contact you if you are on the buyout/home elevation list! 

If you DID NOT sign up for the buyout back in 2011, you are NOT eligible for these funds.  I apologize, but I will not be returning calls about this matter.

For immediate questions/answers, please contact the County Highway Dept/Floodplain Office at 618-776-5242.

-Beth & Jeff


posted Mar 18, 2013, 12:55 PM by Beth Ellison

I'm (finally) happy to announce, that FEMA approved the Alexander County HMGP application for buyouts and home elevations.  Below is the press released sent out today by FEMA.

A brief synopsis of how this will now work:
  • Alexander County and IEMA will enter into contract to allow dispersal of funds
  • Once contracts are signed, Alexander County will work with contractors to bid out various aspects of the project (i.e. assessors, environmental assessments, etc.)
  • Once everything is set, we will proceed with typical "real-estate" transactions.  We will begin with substantially-damaged properties (50% or more damaged as stated by your flood survey completed in 2011 by floodplain personnel)
  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE hold off on your calls so Jeff Denny and his office can work with the county on the paperwork with IEMA.  You will be receiving a letter over the next couple weeks.  If your address has changed in the last year PLEASE E-MAIL
Thank you for your patience and we all hope to make this as painless a process as possible!!

Link to WSIL news coverage:

Governor Quinn Announces Federal Funding to Fight Flood Damage in Alexander County

Grants Will Fund Purchase, Demolition of 167 Flood-Prone Homes and Businesses, Elevation of Four Additional Homes
CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today announced $8.7 million in federal funding to acquire and demolish 167 flood-prone homes and businesses in Alexander County. The funding was approved today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the state will provide nearly $3 million in capital funds to cover the required 25 percent local match. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to driving the region’s recovery forward. Shortly after the floods, Governor Quinn was successful in securing a federal disaster declaration, which provided important assistance for individuals, businesses and counties working to rebuild.


“The historic floods of 2011 turned many lives upside-down,” Governor Quinn said. “These investments will help many families start anew as they continue to rebuild their lives.”


Representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have worked closely with local officials in Alexander County throughout the grant application process. The Geology Department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale also provided assistance to the county. 


Most of the properties that will be acquired are in Olive Branch, a community that was particularly hard-hit by flooding in 2011. Other properties are in Tamms and Thebes. Purchase prices will be based on appraisals of pre-flood home values. The grants announced today will also fund projects to elevate four additional homes, helping prevent future flood damage.


The Alexander County project will be one of the largest flood-related acquisitions ever in Illinois. To date, more than 3,000 homes and businesses have been purchased and the land turned into open spaces. By removing structures from the flood-prone areas, communities can save on future flood-fighting expenses and residents can avoid the heartbreak of repeated flood damage.


The federal funds were made available through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which supports state and local government projects to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters.  The state’s match was made available through Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) capital funds.   


Unbelieveably Close!

posted Feb 27, 2013, 9:23 AM by Beth Ellison

Keep your eyes to the newspapers!  We are so very close to federal approval of the FEMA property acquisitions and elevations grant!!  

With that being said, please remember that we will contact you!  A flood of calls when it is announced will hinder progress (although we know you are all very antsy to get this thing moving!!) 

After federal approval, the County will work with IEMA to get all the paperwork/legal documents in order.  Once things are signed, the bidding process and assessments will begin.  

Thank you for your patience, we know this has been UNBELIEVABLY difficult.  Keep checking back here and we'll keep things updated!!


posted Feb 11, 2013, 12:35 PM by Beth Ellison

Good afternoon everyone - 

Been over a week since I updated but wanted to let you know what is going on with the buyout/home elevations.

I submitted requested extra materials for the benefit-cost analysis on February 1.  They reviewed materials last week so we should hear shortly on the BCA approval.

Keep your prayers going and fingers crossed (or whatever good luck charm you use!)  I am optimistic that we will hear shortly.  Reminder that once the funds are approved, WE WILL CONTACT YOU.  There will still be paperwork that the county will need to situate before the "real-estate" transactions begin, so please remain patient and we will move the process as quickly as possible once funds are approved.

Also, mark your calendars, the Olive Branch Community Development Corporation (OBACDC) is having a meeting on February 19 at 4:30pm at the Highway Department.  If you are interested in various recovery and rebuilding efforts I know they encourage you to attend!

Weekly Update from FEMA

posted Jan 25, 2013, 11:01 AM by Beth Ellison

FEMA is now reviewing and verifying the benefit-cost analysis.  A couple of other items to get together and we should here relatively soon.

REMINDER: You will be contacted once the funds are received, we appreciate your patients and know this is a very difficult time for most of you!  Keep your spirits up and prayers going!

-Beth & The Alexander County Floodplain Office

Update: Moving Forward

posted Jan 15, 2013, 9:39 AM by Beth Ellison

In regards to the FEMA buyout, Alexander County and SIUC will meet with FEMA weekly now until grant is approved.

If you have questions regarding status please call Highway Department at 618-776-5242.

Update: Still no news

posted Dec 11, 2012, 7:16 AM by Beth Ellison

My sincerest apologies for not keeping the website updated.  We are hesitant to post anything related to the FEMA application as we keep hearing "almost", and then "something comes up".  However, let me reiterate that Hurricane Sandy is NOT taking any potential funds away from Alexander County.  We are so close to approval, if you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me (  If you have specific questions, please call (618-453-7349) or call Jeff Denny at 618-776-5242.

We sincerely apologize for the delay and confusion. 


posted Sep 5, 2012, 7:24 AM by Beth Ellison

I (Beth) am back in the office.  If you have questions regarding the buyout application you may reach me at SIU.  However, there is still no further news from FEMA.  We will contact you when we know more.  Thanks!

1-10 of 32