Sanford resident still impacted by 2020 flood damage
SANFORD, Mich. (WNEM) - Nearly three years later, some Sanford residents still don’t have access to the places they used to call home after dam failures in 2020 caused devastating floods.
Sanford resident Julie Vezina is still trying to pick up the pieces.
“The last three years have been stressful, they’ve been trying, they’ve been long. You look at the lake and you wish that it were back,” Vezina said.
That’s what every day for Vezina has been like since flood waters flowed into her home on Sanford Lake three years ago. She said the place she intended to be her retirement home is unlivable.
“Sometimes a little bit disheartening, because although I have the house, and I’m still making the mortgage payments on the house, I can’t live in the house,” she said.
Vezina said her home looks the way it did when the water receded. She said the structure needs to be torn down and rebuilt, but she’s not sure how she can afford it.
“Insurance did not pay on the policy because they said that since it was a man-made disaster, that it was not anything that was natural, that the policy wouldn’t be effective,” she said.
Vezina has been staying with family members. She said she hopes that one day she can return and make this house her home again.
“It’s still my dream, is to be able to sit and watch the lake,” she said.
The Four Lakes Task Force released its three-year progress report on repairing the dams and restoring the lakes. The company said one of the notable milestones of 2022 was stabilizing the four dams until the new designs can be implemented. They also removed debris from Sanford and Wixom Lakes along with the Sanford dam and protected more than 10,000 feet of shoreline.
In 2023, the task force expects all four dams to be permitted and under construction.
On Thursday, May 18, Attorney Ven Johnson will speak about a lawsuit over the dam failures of 2020. The state is continuing to appeal. The mass tort lawsuit, which allows property owners to be evaluated and compensated for damages, claims the Edenville and Sanford dams failed during heavy rain because of owner negligence.
That update is at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Sanford Lake park boat ramp.
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