Athens Celebrates its Road to Recovery

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ATHENS -- One community in Bradford County is celebrating their road to recovery one year after the historic floods of September 2011.

Athens was devastated after flood waters swept through its downtown.

South Main Street was shut down to traffic in Athens as a street festival was in full swing.

Vendors were selling things from novelty items to baked goods and of course festival food.

But this wasn’t just any ordinary street festival; this was a community showing how it has risen from the ashes.

Just one year ago, South Main Street was devastated in Athens after Tropical Storm Lee caused both the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers to flood the borough leaving many homeless.

Many still can’t believe how far they’ve come in 12 months.

“This is spectacular,” said Amy Craig. “I know there’s still a lot of people out there hurting but having this as your foundation, it’s got to make you feel fantastic to know you have a town behind you to rebuilt to.”

“We wanted to show the community that we were back and stronger,” said festival organizer Deanna Barrett. “We’ve stuck together and it’s the one year anniversary and we’re moving on.”

Numerous businesses in downtown Athens were flooded out after South Main Street took on nearly six feet of water. Now a year later, new store fronts are in and people said many of the businesses have moved back in.

People from surrounding communities came out to the festival to see Athens’ big return.

“We wanted to come up and support the community,” said Joey Ackley from Towanda. “They’re doing a great job up here recovering from the floods so we’re trying to bring more people out to check out the businesses, see how good their doing afterwards.”

People said a lot of the recovery had to do with companies in the gas industry using their equipment to help clean-up.

“All your debris is out on the sidewalk and it’s just mud everywhere, when you see this truck come down with these hoses cleaning your streets, I just cried, just tears,” said Barrett.

The festival continues onto Saturday, September 8 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. in Athens.