Demolition Begins At Flood-Prone Properties

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TUNKHANNOCK -- What many people consider a landmark building in Tunkhannock was ripped apart on Wednesday.

The effort is now underway in Wyoming County to demolish homes and buildings damaged by the flood of 2011.

It's part of a government buyout of flood prone properties.

It didn't take long for a demolition crew to rip down what stood in Tunkhannock for decades. For many, the memories of what is now a pile of rubble go back to buying beer, but what was a longtime beer distributor, and many other things, fell victim to one too many floods.

"It's sad to see some old buildings go, but it needed to go. It was in bad shape."

Neighbor Mary Brooks watched the old place go down. Her neighborhood is quickly changing.

Two weeks ago four neighboring homes started coming down. It's all part of a federal and state government buyout of flood prone properties.

"What do they say? Time doesn't wait for nobody, it keeps on moving. That's certainly the case around you isn't?  Move over, let the next one come through," laughed Brooks.

Houses right across the river are the next to come down. One is ready to go and across the street, it's already demolished and another is beyond repair.

"For those folks who are in the program, they have patience.  Oh, have they been really patient and we need a little more of that patience," said Wyoming County EMA director Gene Dziak.

Dziak says there has been a lot of government red tape to work through but the county is determined to bring down around 40 homes and buildings in flood plains. That work is now underway.

But despite being flooded, these were people's homes.  What were once busy neighborhoods are being changed forever.

"There's homes out there that have been in families for years and years and years, and for families to give that home up can be difficult for them," Dziak said.

Once these government buyouts are complete, and the homes are torn down, nothing can ever be built on those lots.  Municipalities must care for them as green spaces.