Jacksonville's South Shores neighborhood was targeted for a buyout after massive flooding in 2017. Homeowners say they're still waiting to hear a price.

While Hurricane Dorian churned straight east of Jacksonville, Dale Fish walked to his doorway and looked left down the block to a nameless creek feeding into the St. Johns River.

“It’s good to know what your dangers are,” he said.

There was no problem Wednesday, but Fish had seen trouble all around him two years ago, when more than two feet of floodwater from Hurricane Irma poured into his 80-year-old home in Jacksonville’s South Shores area between San Marco and St. Nicholas.

The flooding was enough that the city soon asked dozens of residents like Fish and his wife, Janet, whether they’d like to sell their homes, which could be demolished and the area turned into a wetland.

But while the couple was interested, they’ve been waiting since 2017 for the city to decide what price to offer.

When Dorian headed toward the First Coast, people waiting to make a deal with City Hall wondered whether they were in for a repeat of Irma’s damage.

“I’ve been freaking out,” said Janet Fish, whose home still has one room gutted to the studs and a kitchen floor held together by tape because of water damage.

This time was different, thankfully.

Although the creek backed up a little, streets where water gathers even in nice weather stayed mostly dry, and the rescue boats that launched in 2017 from the Fishes’ front yard were just reminiscences.

For the Fishes, the biggest flooding worry was when they’d hear the city’s offer, which still might not be enough to be worth accepting.

Some waiting is understandable, Janet Fish said. The city had to get state and federal approvals for money to make the buyout offer, and, as the couple understand things, the task at hand now is hiring a company to handle appraisals and then working through agreements with property owners.

But some owners have simply dropped out of the project over time, either declining to be bought out or selling outright to new buyers.

While about six dozen buyout were proposed in 2017, the city has so far gathered funding – about $4.6 million – for just 17 homes, with a potential for others to follow.

Janet Fish said she’s hoping their home can be sold by Christmas, but definitely before next summer.

“I don’t want to go through another hurricane season,” she said.

Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263