COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WOOD) - It seems that if it were up to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Plainfield Township authorities, houses along flood-prone streets like Abrigador Trail, Konkle and Willow drives, and Riverbank Avenue would be demolished. And they're paying millions to make that happen.
Four houses along Abrigador Trail have disappeared in the last few years. Two more will be demolished soon.
"There used to be a house there in October," Abrigador Trail resident Barbara Zvirdinis showed 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. "They took the buyout. It was really nice -- attached garage; A-frame."
It's part of a plan from Plainfield Township and FEMA, the goal of which is to buy out an demolish about 180 homes in flood-prone areas on streets like Abrigador Trail and Willow Drive.
Township officials say the buyouts are voluntary. Some neighbors are fleeing for good, while others refuse to go.
"It's a way out," said Zvirzdinis. "If you've got some floods, the ice floods, those are rough. You're not going to get a lot of money for these houses, so it can be your way out of here."
The township has used $3 million in FEMA grants, and has bought 10 homes so far. Six of those on Abrigador Trail. They pay 75% of the appraised value. There are plans to purchase more in the township.
This year is the first in seven that Zvirzdinis's house has flooded. Though the flooding has caused their home to smell, they say they won't sell.
"Where we're staying at right now, there's not really a room with a view," said Zvirzdinis. "And I'd rather have a view and nature and beauty, then have some fancy-a** house."
But though others -- like Zvirzdinis's Abrigador Trail neighbors the Smiths -- love the river rat life, they are selling their homes.
Douth Smith and his wife signed up for the FEMA buyout only recently, about the time the water started receding.
"This flood did it in. I've lived in this house for 30 years and I've never had water inside of it, and this year we had two foot of water inside, and it's pretty rough," said Smith. "That's enough."
Township officials say emptying neighborhoods like these could take a lifetime, in part because of the federal budget crunch, but mostly because people love living on the river.
The Norton Shores Police Department is reporting three reports of stolen snowblowers this week.
About a dozen people were displaced.
One person was arrested after a threatening comment resulted in a school district briefly locking down its schools Friday morning.