Interest High in Tulsa County Flood Buy-Out Program

Monday, April 11th 2022, 5:19 pm

By: Amy Avery


Some people in Tulsa County and across Green Country are still trying to rebuild after devastating flooding in 2019, but federal grant money could soon bring some relief.

In the past month, Tulsa County received $14.7 million dollars to buy out homes impacted by flooding along the Arkansas River, Bird Creek, and the Caney River. County leaders say 70 people have already signed up so far, but they’re hoping for 150 to sign up in total.

They say anyone taking advantage of the buyout, would get fair market value for what their home was worth before the flooding.

“We still have several homes in the affected areas that are sitting vacant and still sitting in the condition that they were right after the flood,” said Tulsa Area Emergency Management Director, Joseph Kralicek.

Kralicek says the home would then be demolished and the land would become green space. The green space could eventually turn into a park or those who live nearby could purchase the property but couldn’t build on it. He says this program is meant to help those who can’t afford to rebuild.

“This is a voluntary program for those who want to be out of the flood plain a chance to get out and be whole,” said Kralicek.

Kralicek says though the interest has been high for some, others don’t want to leave. Lanny Watson and his wife, Hope, rebuilt their home twice after historic flooding in 1986 and again after flooding in 2019. They say they can’t imagine leaving their home but understand that some of their neighbors can’t afford to rebuild.

Related Story: Sand Springs Residents Still Cleaning Up 2 Months After Historic Floods 

"The house down on the corner, the house down on that corner, all they've been done is washed out and left sit,” said Watson.

Lanny says the Town and Country neighborhood has changed over the past few years. He says some homes have been purchased and revitalized and there are a lot of new faces in the neighborhood.

"Well, there's one new family there and a new family there,” said Watson.

The Watsons say even though the neighborhood looks different now, they have too many fond memories in their home to leave.

“We're happy here,” said Lanny. “We raised our kids here, our grandkids, so we're happy to stay."

There are two more meetings -- for those who want more information:

April 19, 2022: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

O’Brien Park 

6149 N. Lewis Ave.

April 25, 2022: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Collinsville Veterans Community Center

903 W. Main St.

Applications are due by the end of April.


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