OLIVE BRANCH, IL (KFVS) - The landscape in Alexander County will soon look a little different.
That's as crews begin demolition of 12 homes as part of the FEMA flood buyout.
These are homes belonging to people who took a FEMA buyout after the flood waters overwhelmed the county in 2011.
The project is more than five years in the making and Alexander County chairman Chalen Tatum says the end is finally in sight.
"It's a step in the right direction, finally," Tatum said "We've been at a standstill for over a year so a lot of people thought it was not going happen so they're starting to see progress again and starting to get their hopes back up that it will happen."
"Everything that could get in the way has got in the way and slowed us down. We're building steam again and hopefully we don't have any more slow ups," Tatum said.
Tatum says the county has accepted bids from contractors on 12 properties so far. In total, structures on 169 properties will eventually need to be torn down.
Once structures are demolished the land is turned over to the county who is responsible for maintenance, like mowing.
So far, 49 people have received money from the buyout. That leaves 120 people still waiting.
Tatum says in order for buyouts to be processed, the county submits appraisals to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources which, along with the attorney general's office, reviews the appraisals on the structures.
Once that process is completed money is dispersed.
Tatum says the county is currently accepting bids on an additional nine properties.