Residents of New Hartford in Butler County are waiting to see if the federal government will buy out parts of their town. The city was struck by a tornado on May 25th. Two weeks later all 659 residents of New Hartford were evacuated when flood waters surged through the area.
For now, Charlene Ingles has reopened her restaurant. "Before I even got here the day when we first came back into the town, customers that had their houses underwater and hadn’t gotten into their things yet — they were in here, cleaning out the mud and the muck," Ingles says, "…and right then and there, I decided I have to open again for them."
The restaurant is one of only a couple of businesses that will reopen in New Hartford. The hardware store is closed forever and the convenience store will relocate to nearby Parkersburg. Barry Cuvelier, a local teacher, hopes those who relocate stay within the Dike-New Hartford School District.
"Somewhere down the line, every time we lose there’s always something to gain from that loss. We just have to make sure we gather on those strengths," he says. "…We’ll persevere. It’s just going to take some time," Cuvelier says.
The New Hartford Post Office was heavily damaged, but it is set to reopen in the next few weeks. After the flood of 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency bought and tore down nearly 12-thousand houses in the nine states affected by that year’s flooding. Chelsea, Iowa, was among the towns eligible for the FEMA buyout, but in the end only a few Chelsea residents opted to take the federal buyout.