Help for Flood Victims in Columbia County

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Several flood victims in the Bloomsburg area have received news they wanted to hear. The federal government will buy out their properties so they can start over.

Almost three dozen properties in Columbia County will be bought out by the government. Those properties include some of the hardest hit houses on Main Street in Bloomsburg. Some of the homeowners said they are ready to close this chapter of their lives and say goodbye to memories of flooding.

Tony Miller is all-too-familiar with flood damage. He has lived on Main Street in Bloomsburg his whole life. September's flood destroyed his house.

"I just want to get it over with, get it torn down and move on. It's as simple as that. This hassle has been going on for months, eight months," Miller said.

He and some of his neighbors just learned that the government will buy out almost three dozen properties in Columbia County. Eleven of those houses are on Main Street in Bloomsburg. One of them is Miller's. Two of them belong to John Long. He said his properties have flooded at least eight times.

"It's time to move on. In one respect we're happy, but in another respect we're sad," Long said.

Bloomsburg Mayor Dan Knorr said the federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost of the voluntary buyouts while the state and town will pitch in the rest.

"Financially I think we can handle the entire three percent relatively easily. It would be about $60,000 for us," Mayor Knorr said.

He said said once these houses are torn down the land will be turned into a green space. No one else will be able to build here ever again.

Mayor Knorr said the homeowners are expected to sign on the dotted line this summer, and he expects funding to be distributed in early September, around the one year anniversary of last year's flood.