Madison, Wis (WMTV) - A Wisconsin town damaged by record floods is working to rebuild and repopulate more than five years after it was badly damaged.
The Village of Gays Mills was hit by two massive storms in 2007 and 2008, just ten months apart.
The water damaged about half the homes and businesses along the Kickapoo River near the original downtown.
Since the floods, the village president says about 20% of the residents moved away. He says some were encouraged by FEMA’s offers to buy and demolish their homes on the floodplain.
Some other homes were raised above the reach of a flooded river, while the rest of the affected residents rebuilt in a new part of town.
"We got offered to move up here to this new mall and get out of the flood so every year you weren't worried about flooding out and losing business," business owner Denise Foley said.
Business owners say the move to the other part of town hasn’t meant a decrease in business, in fact people from outside the area are moving into the new development.
A funeral home just opened this month, and another home is under construction.