A truck pulled the last temporary housing unit in Recovery Village out of the park Thursday, emptying a federal group site in northeast Minot that had served flood survivors since last December.
Bus shelters, an office building, fire hydrants, street signs and utility boxes were about all that remained in the expanse of land. The bus shelters and office building eventually will go before the land is turned back to Minot Area Development Corp.
The area is included in an expansion project proposed for the Port of North Dakota.
A worker guides the driver of a truck pulling the last FEMA unit out of Recovery Village on Thursday.
The last FEMA unit rolls out of Recovery Village Thursday, leaving a scene of empty lots.
The exact number of households who once lived in the village on 42nd Street Northeast was unavailable. But Robert Gilliam, direct housing operations supervisor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, estimated close to 100 households might have called the village home at one time.
The village never had that many households on site at one time, though. The site was built to accommodate a demand that had tapered off by the time the village opened, so many of the 200 units stayed empty. FEMA kept the extra units on hand for emergency use and began coordinating their exit this past spring.
Gilliam said most residents in the units have found permanent housing. Households still needing FEMA units have been moved to Virgil Workman Village, the group site in southeast Minot. FEMA has been consolidating its operations at the Workman site, where just over 500 units are in use.
In Burlington, operations are being consolidated at the DeSour Valley Heights group site. FEMA units are exiting the mobile home park in Burlington, and residents are being relocated to DeSour.
Gilliam said FEMA is in discussion with the City of Burlington to eventually donate the units in DeSour to the city, which already owns the land. Burlington would be required to retain units necessary to provide housing for flood survivors. The city could use additional units at the site as affordable housing for people who qualify.
FEMA is continuing its housing mission in Minot and Burlington through June 24, 2013. FEMA could turn DeSour over to Burlington before that date, but it has not been determined when that change might happen, Gilliam said.
For now, decommissioned units are going to a staging area in Velva. FEMA expects to move that staging area to the State Fairgrounds this winter. FEMA is listing the units for sale through the U.S. General Services Administration. Some have gone to federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
FEMA has announced that it will be offering local units for sale to occupants or for donation to nonprofit groups once its mission ends next year.
With the disaster in Minot, FEMA greatly increased the number of units in its inventory that are suited to northern climates. Many of the three-bedroom units were purchased new.
Gilliam said the units are approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for long-term occupancy. In the past, FEMA has used units designed strictly for temporary use in its disaster response. However, the agency has been moving away from that type of housing in favor of HUD-approved units suited for long-term occupancy, he said.
The North Dakota Health Department also has approved the units in Minot for long-term occupancy. In addition, units acquired for disaster victims by FEMA also must meet the lowest level of formaldehyde permitted in any of the states.