Money to Prevent Flooding in Pine Grove

PINE GROVE, Pa. -- A community in Schuylkill County is getting money from the state for flood protection.

The flooding from Tropical Storm Lee almost seven years ago destroyed nearly 200 homes and businesses in Pine Grove. All that water came from a creek that runs through the borough.

The water in the Swatara Creek is flowing calmly now, but that's not always the case. During Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, 15 inches of rain fell, flooding the creek so badly it destroyed nearly 200 homes and businesses.

"Pine Grove was pretty well ravaged. Streets closed and everything like that," recalled Randal Brown.

The flooding caused many of Pine Grove's businesses to close, causing the area to lose about 250 jobs.

The owner of Lehr's Feed and Farm Supplies remembers how bad it was.

"We couldn't get to the store at least a day, maybe two days, because the roads coming into Pine Grove were flooded," said Mark Lehr.

Lehr said he was lucky enough not to be affected by the 2011 floods, but he did say that the water came up as far as a stop sign right outside his business.

The state has a plan to prevent future flooding.

Last week, Pine Grove received a $3 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to create a floodplain area east of the Swatara Creek that would help alleviate flooding.

People who live in and around Pine Grove are all for this plan.

"Yes, very good for the community," said Eliza Laveri.

Many worry more flooding could happen.

"With the climate change today, I wouldn't doubt it because the weather is very unpredictable anymore," Brown added.

Preliminary assessments are still being done and no date has been set yet on when the work to alleviate the flooding will begin.

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