U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced $ 1.2 million in federal funds to elevate twenty-seven flood prone structures in the Village of Owego, the majority of them residential properties, to minimize their risk of future flooding. This grant, which is being awarded as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) will offset 75% of the costs for the first phase of construction. The Village of Owego was particularly hard-hit by Tropical Storm Lee, which led to severe flooding of the Susquehanna River. Following the two storms, NY-96 was submerged for several days, as was NY Route 17, as well as much of the Village itself. The Senators announced the $1,219,833.90 grant would allow construction to begin to flood-proof several of the most at-risk residential properties in Owego, helping homeowners lessen the risk of future flood damage.
“It is not enough to simply rebuild and repair; we must also prepare ourselves for the next storm and the next potential flood. That’s exactly what this federal grant will do, helping to lower the risk of flood damage for Owego properties that are most in harm’s way,” said Senator Schumer. “Owego was hit particularly hard by Tropical Storm Lee, so taking steps to elevate structures near the Susquehanna is a prudent use of federal dollars. Spending a penny today on flood-prevention efforts could save the federal government and Tioga County homeowners a dollar tomorrow in repair costs.”
“Owego endured some of the very worst of back-to-back extreme weather – costing us farmland and crops, destroying homes, businesses, roads and bridges,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Our communities shouldn’t have to shoulder that financial burden alone, and hazard mitigation is one of the best tools we have to reduce these costs when disaster strikes. This is an important investment that can go a long way in strengthening the resiliency of our communities, and preventing big costs down the road.”
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding under Section 406 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that supplies aid to states and localities to implement long-term resiliency measures after a major disaster. The purpose of these grants is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.