Ken Knight Drive residents have been plagued by floods. City leaders met with them to discuss buyouts

City leaders on Wednesday met with Ken Knight Drive residents to discuss solutions to the neighborhood’s flooding problems.

The area sits on the Ribault River and recent hurricanes have caused waters to engulf residents’ homes.

One solution is a FEMA grant that would allow the city to buy out homes in the area and help relocate renters.

Council Member Ju’Coby Pittman said the meeting was about giving information to the people who lived in that community so they could make an informed decision on what’s best for their lives moving forward.

“Never before until 2017 when Irma came along and I got flooded out,” said local homeowner Louise Allen.

Allen has lived in the area since the 1960s.

She shared photos with News4JAX of what her front yard looked like after Irma passed through. There was water covering the street and entering people’s homes.

“If, God forbid it, but if I should flood again I just say I was going to go and leave it but I’m just stuck,” she said.

Pittman wanted to hold the meeting to let residents know they were not stuck.

There is a grant that would give homeowners the option to be bought out by the city and for renters to be relocated.

Ju’Coby Pittman, Council Member District 10: 7:09:39

“So if they’re paying $800 and maybe something cost $1,200, they would also pay that difference over a period of time,” Pittman said.

Council member Pittman said letting residents know about these options is needed.

And Allen said although this meeting was informative she’s not sure where’d she move if she was able to be bought out.

“By me going to stop working it’s nowhere in the world I can afford to move somewhere and paying over $1,500 a month in for apartment or rented house or something. I can’t see myself doing it,” Allen said.

Allen said the option to be bought sounds good but she’s worried.

According to the property appraiser’s website, the market value of her home is just over $46,000.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors said home prices in the Jacksonville area have reached a median price of $395,000.

“I know I couldn’t make a jump to move out on my own to another place,” Allen said.

Council member Pittman said before residents are bought out the city would appraise the property, give residents a fair amount as well as pay for their closing fees.

Pittman also addressed concerns residents have that another housing development would move in after they are gone.

“This land is flood land. You can really put anything else on it from what I’m told,” Pittman said.

Pittman said there will be another meeting with residents in the area to talk more about the grant as well as other things happening in the area she said those meetings will be coming soon.

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