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Community center money will now fund flood recovery in frustrated Watertown

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There's some hope and help for the flood-ravaged Watertown neighborhood in East Moline.

The city planned to distribute $161,000 in federal grant money. That would help residents replace water heaters and furnaces.  Most of that money was intended to help fund a new community center.   Since localized damage wouldn't qualify for state or federal assistance, East Moline can use the community center money in Watertown.

Hard work continues in Watertown. There's debris, damage and determination.

"We lost everything," said Christina Hill. "Every basement filled."

Hill's basement filled with more than four feet of water.

"There was a film of dirt over everything," she recalled.

Dirt is just the start of the damage down there.

"My whole bathroom was destroyed," she added.

Just a week ago, residents were shocked by the aftermath of this perfect storm: too much rain, closed flood gates and failed pumps.

"We're looking at this situation," said City Administrator Cole O'Donnell. "What do we need to do differently? What upgrades do we need to make?"

Longtime resident Julie Moden blames the failed pumps as much as the procedures.

"That's faulty material, faulty products," she said. "Would you want to buy something faulty?"

Moden was stacking her second pile of debris. It represents belongings, memories and home.

As a relative worked on a water-logged dryer, there was understandable frustration. They went through the same thing in 2008.

"We've hauled everything we can out of the basement," she said. "We're doing the best we can to clean up."

Watertown is a neighborhood that's hurting and not yet healing.

"It's a mess," Moden concluded.

Residents will learn more at an informational meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening. It takes place at Mt. Zion Church, 1501 6th Avenue, East Moline.