Wolf Administration Announces Funding for Flood Protection for Pine Grove Residents and Businesses
Pine Grove, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin joined Senator David Argall, Representative Mike Tobash, and other elected officials to announce the approval of funding to support a comprehensive flood protection project in Pine Grove. This announcement comes after years of the administration working with the community to secure funding to enable the project to begin.
“Projects like this one exemplify Governor Wolf’s mission of keeping communities safe for both residents and businesses,” Secretary Davin said. “That’s why we fought so hard to secure this funding. This project will give homeowners protection and peace of mind while encouraging businesses to stay or set up shop in Pine Grove due to significantly reduced flood risk. It is truly great news for this town.”
The $3 million in funding, secured by DCED from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program, will enable Pine Grove to create a floodplain restoration area on land owned by Guilford Mills, a major local employer and project partner. The project includes developing a naturalized floodplain area on 50 acres of open land east of the Swatara Creek, which would alleviate the majority of the flooding west of the creek, including the heavily populated north end of Pine Grove. Construction and engineering costs are also being supported with just under $3 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
“After the 2011 flood, local business and government representatives, state and county officials, and residents came together to develop a comprehensive plan to address the terrible, and all too frequent, flood damages,” said Senator Argall. “These funds are a direct result of that plan, all in the hope that one day the communities along Swatara Creek will not suffer from repeated flooding. This flood-remediation project is a major step forward in revitalizing western Schuylkill County.”
In September 2011, Tropical Storm Lee produced more than 15 inches of rainfall in the 120-square-mile Upper Swatara Creek watershed, severely impacting the north end of Pine Grove Borough and flooding more than 180 homes and businesses including Guilford Mills, Pine Grove’s largest employer. This project will enable Guilford Mills to remain in the Pine Grove area, preserving 300 jobs. As a result of the 2011 flooding, the Pine Grove community lost several businesses, and two major employers were permanently closed representing a loss of over 250 jobs alone from the two plants.
“The flood of 2011 caused many stakeholders, including state and local officials, businesses, and residents, to come together in an effort to reduce the likelihood of flooding in the western region of Schuylkill County,” Representative Tobash said. “I am happy and proud to have been part of the joint effort that helped put us in a position to make the Swatara watershed a more stable place to live and do business is truly important for our entire region. This project to reclaim and restore floodplains in the area of Guilford Mills will make the residents of Pine Grove less susceptible to flooding and bode well for keeping this important employer in our area.”
For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to community development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132