"Thank you" is a phrase rarely heard by officials organizing the evacuation of the chemically contaminated Forest Glen subdivision, but one of the evacuees is saying just that.
Karen L. Garis, whose family was one of 54 in Forest Glen, said she feels most got a fair shake in buyout offers from the federal government.
The subdivision of 52 mobile homes and two permanent dwellings is on the boundary between Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara. It was declared contaminated in July 1989 and residents were urged to move out.
In a statement, Ms. Garis said media reports have made it "sound like all residents are unhappy. . . . I am very grateful for all the help that was given to me. If the remaining small group of people could see their way past the greed, a new start on life is there for the taking."
Many residents are upset with the offers being made and the kind of housing they could buy. Charles D. Robinson, the Washington-based chief of Superfund and Relocation for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said 45 of the 54 offers have been accepted.
Ms. Garis, who agreed to a buyout in September, is in the midst of relocating after three years at Forest Glen.
Ms. Garis said the $60,000 she received was four times as much as she paid for her mobile home at Forest Glen.
Ms. Garis said she found a four-bedroom house on 80th Street that will carry just a $16,000 mortgage after the FEMA buyout money is used.
"In 10 years my house will be totally paid for," she said recently.
Environmental Protection Agency officials said families should be no worse off than they were before the evacuation order.