Wolf Administration Announces Funding for Three Major Susquehanna Valley Flood-Remediation Projects

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced that the Wolf Administration has secured more than $6.35 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding for three major Susquehanna Valley flood-remediation projects in Bloomsburg, Columbia County; Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County; and Pine Grove, Schuylkill County.

“Governor Wolf has made funding these particular projects, which will improve the lives and enhance the security of many people and businesses in the Susquehanna Valley, a major priority of his administration,” said Secretary Davin. “These communities are now able to make a proactive investment in flood control that will benefit not only today’s residents but future generations as well.”

Bloomsburg will receive $2 million to be used toward the construction of a mile-long levee system along the town’s southern edge on the Susquehanna River. In addition to directly protecting 125 homes in the area, the levee structure will benefit schools, a public works facility, and municipal buildings. The project also includes upgrades to the town’s sanitary sewer and storm water systems.

“This is tremendous news for the community of Bloomsburg and the Bloomsburg Area School District,” said state Sen. John Gordner (R-Berwick). “After decades of discussion and disappointment, this significant grant will allow design and planning work to be completed that I believe will lead to a substantial new floodwall expansion project. I want to thank Governor Wolf and Secretary Davin and his staff for continuing to work with state Rep. David Millard, myself, and local officials on this very important and long-lasting project.”

“The grant for the floodwall expansion project is a product of perseverance and cooperation among many parties, and its impacts will be felt for decades to come,” said state Rep. David Millard (R-Berwick). “I commend all those who worked to see this effort come to fruition. The lives of thousands of Bloomsburg residents will be better for it.”

Wilkes-Barre will receive $2.35 million to be used for the reconstruction of the Solomon Creek channel, which includes replacement of sections of flood-control retaining walls along Solomon Creek and Mill Creek in the city. Portions of the flood wall date back to the 1930s, and conditions have only become worse since Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 exacerbated damage incurred in previous storms.

“Today’s announcement that over $2.3 million in Disaster Recovery funds will be awarded to the City of Wilkes-Barre represents the positive results that residents of the city have come to expect from their public officials,” said state Sen. John Yudichak (D-Nanticoke). “While more work needs to be done, we continue to execute on the plan that we started three years ago to protect our city’s residents from flooding. We greatly appreciate the work of Secretary Davin and the Wolf administration for continuing to recognize the critical importance of this project by securing these funds and for their continued efforts to work vigorously with us to obtain additional funding to fully execute the plan.”

“The Solomon Creek retaining walls provide flood protection for more than 700 homes and businesses in the South Wilkes-Barre area,” said state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Wilkes-Barre) said. “Recent high water further damaged portions of this system, and it now needs immediate attention. Working cooperatively with Governor Wolf, Mayor Tony George, state Sen. Yudichak, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, and Congressman Matt Cartwright, we have devoted great effort to acquire the funds to complete the renovation of the areas in distress.”

Pine Grove will receive $2 million to be used toward floodplain restoration along Swatara Creek on land owned by Guilford Mills, a major local employer and project partner. The project will include relocation of roads and utilities and wetlands restoration.

“The commitment of our state government to make the western part of Schuylkill County in the Swatara watershed a more stable place to live and do business is truly important to the entire region,” said state Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill Haven). “Specifically, the project to reclaim and restore floodplains in the area of Guilford Mills will make the residents of Pine Grove less susceptible to flood and bode well for keeping this important employer in our area.”

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