Glendale offers to bulldoze homes situated along flood plain

GLENDALE -- The city of Glendale has offered 16 homeowners the chance to sell their homes, so they can be bulldozed to the ground.  The homes sit in a flood plain along the Milwaukee River.

Houses along Sunny Point Lane have long been a target for federal and county officials to clear to help with water level controls.  However, out of the 16 who were given an offer to move, only four have shown interest in selling.

"Over the years, development has occurred in the flood plain. What we're trying to do is reduce the flooding that has caused. All of these acquisitions are completely voluntary, so if you don't want to sell, you don't have to, but you will continue to have these flooding issues," Kevin Shafer with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District said.

Money is being provided mostly by the federal government, but the city of Glendale and MMSD will also split a small piece of the tab. "It will open up the area where water can flow because you won't have those houses obstructing the view," Shafer said.

"To be practical, if we are going to leave, we should go now," homeowner Tom Knapp said.  Knapp and his wife, Nancy have lived on Sunny Point Road for over 30 years. Knapp has shown interest in selling his home.  He says he loves the property, but due to age, may be on the market for a new house soon anyway.  He also fears one day he won't have a choice.

"We know as these cases go, that at the end of a period of time, that will not be voluntary anymore.  Acquiring eminent domain, this kind of property, they have to when you get to that point," Knapp said.

The Knapps say if the city's offer is too low, they won't sell.

Currently interested homeowners are negotiating with the city over sale prices. Glendale is receiving federal funds from FEMA for the purchase.