Fort Worth buying out homes in Arlington Heights neighborhood to fix flooding problem

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The city of Fort Worth is moving forward with a plan to knock down some homes with a history of flooding.

The homeowners have volunteered to sell, and the city will also pay for their relocation costs, but not everyone thinks it’s a smart thing to do.

There have been various studies on how to alleviate the flooding in Arlington Heights.

For now, the city is going with a plan it calls most cost-effective: To get rid of the homes with the worst flooding problems.

Kristen Schmitt is looking forward to years of family fun with her son Henry in their Arlington Heights neighborhood.

And she's quite concerned about the city's purchase of four nearby homes -- two on Carleton and another pair on Western Street.

“Yes, I want to make sure our property values are going to stay up. It’s such a nice area. I want to make sure it’s well-maintained and well-cared,” Schmitt said.

The plan is to tear down those four homes, and possibly six more, and to replace them with a "green space."

This would be a way to remedy a reoccurring problem with flooding.

Tuesday night, the city council approved the initial four buyouts, as each owner has volunteered to sell.

“Why don’t we stop the water upstream before it floods the homes?” someone asked at the meeting.

Those homeowners who accepted the buyouts declined FOX 4's request for an on-camera interview. 

Their neighbors, however, are talking.

“They’ve told us they’re making a green space, I think that's the spin they've put on it,” Hannah Witten said.

Witten is skeptical. 

"We are concerned about our property values. That is something that could potentially be impacted. We also, more than property values, just as a tax paying citizens, I think this was a misuse of resources,” she added.

FEMA kicked in a portion of money for the sales, and the city is paying roughly $1.7 million to purchase and provide relocation money to each owner.

"These properties we are looking at are the ones that are most flood prone. The ones that repeatedly blood, so from that standpoint, it is a full solution because we get those property owners who have repeatedly experienced flood damages, and relieve them of that. So it’s like a 100% solution for them,” said Greg Simmons, director of Storm Water Management. “In terms of being able to fully address the broader issues, this won’t do that. The level of flood risk in that area is so dramatic, it would take a much, much bigger project to provide flood protection for the entire community.“

Talks are continuing with six other homeowners about buyouts, but Simmons says finalizing those sales are still months from happening.