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Federal Money for Bloomsburg Flood Control Project

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- A community in one part of Columbia County is one step closer to having protection from flooding, thanks to a mile-long flood wall.

Officials announced Wednesday over $10 million in federal funding has been secured for a flood protection project.

About six months ago, Bloomsburg received about $2 million in state grant money for this project.

The announcement means the town is one step closer to protecting over 100 homes from flood damage.

Back in 2011, roads and the first floor of many homes in Bloomsburg were under water.

"It's a tough thing to live through, and I think if you haven't lived through it, sometimes people don't understand how bad it is," Robert Horn said.

Members of the Department of Community and Economic Development and elected officials met across the road from Robert Horn's home in Bloomsburg.

Bloomsburg's one-mile flood wall was finished over a year ago. Now the town is planning to add another mile-long section along the southern edge of the river.

This week, Bloomsburg received over $10 million in federal money for that project.

The new flood wall should protect Bloomsburg High School and Middle School as well as more than 100 homes in this community. That includes Horn's home.

"It's great news."

The flood protection will affect homeowners and emergency responders.

"What this will do if this area is protected by a flood wall, it will take it out of an area of concern for first responders and then we can plug more people into the areas that are still being affected by flood water," said Bloomsburg Police Chief Roger Van Loan.

Once the project is complete, there will still be homes not protected by a flood wall. That includes Stephen Shultz's home on Leonard Street.

"I think it's good. If I was in the south end of town, I'd be happy. Being that I'm on the west end of town, I feel a little slighted," Shultz said.

Shultz has lived in Bloomsburg for nearly 30 years. His home was hit hard by the flood in 2011. He's hopeful the town will increase flood protection to the west end of Bloomsburg after this project is finished.

"You hope maybe down the road they'll go for another extension and the governor will release some additional funds to cover everyone," he said.

The $10 million in federal funds is part of a bigger $17 million project officials hope will be complete sometime next year.