"Congressman Don Manzullo and I have left the meeting with the Army Corp of Engineers disappointed. Disappointed they have not moved more quickly to assess the situation. And more quickly to solve this problem," says Senator Dick Durbin.
Not the answer dozens of flood victims were hoping for. The Army Corp of Engineers say they can't start construction on the Alpine Dam for several years because they first must complete a survey and then redesign the entire water shed. Some feel the Corp is predicting a longer time table, since the dam isn't a federal project.
"I don't think there was anything that was said today that will give me assurance that area will be safe next year or next month," Durbin says.
Instead city leaders plan to take it upon themselves to fund repairs to the dam with the help of additional sales tax revenue and hopefully federal dollars. They've already received an 80-thousand dollar grant to study the possibility of buying out homes located in a flood plain.
"Many of these homes may be faced with the hard reality that they can't rebuild or will need to move on," says Rockford Alderman Jeff Holt.
About 100 homes fit into that category. It would cost about ten million dollars to knock them down which creates more green space and fewer flooding opportunities. And within the next few months, an engineer will start redesigning the dam, with construction beginning next spring
Manzullo and Durbin are looking for an earmark to fund construction on the dam. Winnebago County has also just received a 60-thousand dollar hazard grant to develop a plan that lessens the impact of future disasters.