With a huge influx of federal funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as state, local and private funding, the village was relocated from its original site in the Mississippi River bottom, to a new site about two miles east and 400 feet higher. Valmeyer is fast approaching its pre-flood population of 900 inhabitants. It's traditional August homecoming and July Mid-Summer Baseball Classic remain intact.
The new Valmeyer, built from scratch on a 500-acre tract of land, includes many of the town's residents prior to the flood. In 1996, the community's new 100,000 sq. ft. school opened with just over 400 grade school and high school students enrolled from the village and the surrounding rural area. The village's offices, fire department, police department and ambulance department are located in a new Emergency Services Building.
New homes, churches and several businesses are occupied and include a bank, tavern and business forms manufacturing company. The community is actively seeking new residents and businesses. Valmeyer's economy traditionally has been based on agriculture, but that too may change.
Valmeyer's history largely is based on periodic flooding and efforts to control the river. The town flooded in 1910, 1943 and 1944. A new levee system prevented flooding in most subsequent years, especially in 1973, the last major threat prior to 1993.
The rebuilding of the community outside of the floodplain is part of a federal government effort to reduce claims against the federally funded insurance program by getting people to move from flood-prone areas. To that extent, Valmeyer's rebuilding is being held up as an example for the rest of the nation. Valmeyer's story has been well-documented in both the national and international media, most notably on public television's Nova program and as a front-page article in the New York Times in 1996.
More information about Valmeyer is available by contacting the Village of Valmeyer, Valmeyer, IL 62295. Phone (618) 935-2131.