Lewisburg, PA – The Borough of Lewisburg kicked off the Lewisburg Flood Mitigation Study with Borough staff, SEDA-COG Flood Resiliency staff, and the project consultant team Herbert-Rowland & Grubic (HRG) and PennCore Consulting this past week. The nine-month study will document flood impacts in the Borough while also developing strategies to increase the Borough’s resiliency to future flooding.
“We know that over 50% of the Borough’s land area is located in the floodplain and we know that future flooding will impact the Borough and its residents”, said Steven Beattie, Lewisburg Community Development/Grant Manager, “but what we need more understanding about is how will a future flood impact private property, our residents, and Borough finances and services?”
The project is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Strategic Management Planning Program Grant program and $120,000 in funds from Lewisburg Borough. Additionally, Lewisburg Borough has sought guidance and technical assistance from SEDA-COG’s Flood Resiliency Program. “The goal of the study is to help residents and property owners understand the risk, reduce the damage cycle, and stop its financial and emotional drain on everyone connected to Lewisburg”, said Beattie.
The plan will establish a framework to develop initiatives and secure resources to improve the Borough’s flood resiliency. The plan will identify projects and initiatives, define the benefits to the community, identify probable costs and regulatory requirements, and develop a comprehensive plan of action to prioritize and guide Lewisburg Borough to become more flood resilient in the future.
The study will focus on multiple objectives, including:
- Public outreach;
- Identifying flood mitigation solutions for the North Fourth/North Fifth Street neighborhood;
- Identifying flood mitigation solutions for Borough businesses (commercial/industrial) located in the floodway and numerous other businesses located within the regulatory floodplain/floodway (Zone AE);
- Develop an operational recovery plan following a large flood event;
- Determine revenue impacts on the Borough based on the severity of flooding;
- Review Borough ordinances to consider revisions to improve flood resiliency; and
- Develop a flood resilient community “toolbox” for the Borough and its residents to educate and remind us that we live in a flood-prone community, in which everyone must participate to become a future resilient community.
Previous studies, historic data, and current climate trends indicate the Borough must be prepared for the next flood event. This project is a major step towards achieving flood resiliency. HRG and PennCore have committed a team of experts to support this project and guide the Borough and its residents in becoming a flood-resilient community. “Critical to the success of this project will be continuous participation from the residents and business owners”, explained Juni Shahjabin Alam, a professional engineer at HRG, “We want to make sure they are well educated on flood resiliency and have the opportunity to provide valuable feedback as the planning evolves.”
The first clear signal that residents will see that this study is in full swing will be the surveying of all structures located in the regulatory floodplain (Zone A/E). The consultant team plans to survey all structures, over 500 in total, between Tuesday, September 6th and Friday, September 16th. This survey is very important to the Borough to understand the exact elevations of all structures in the floodplain and understand the severity of flooding that may occur relative to observed river levels.
“The Borough believes this survey data is critical to understanding to true impacts of flooding on the Borough residents”, Beattie said, “though we do not need to enter the buildings to gather data, we will need to enter covered stoops and porches just off the street right-of-way.” If residents are concerned, have questions, or prefer our survey team not enter their property, they should contact the Borough immediately. “This study is being completed to help our residents and to help our community bounce back from flood events and continue to thrive.”, Beattie explained, “We invite everyone to participate in the study through upcoming public surveys, meet and greets, and public forums.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Steven Beattie, firstname.lastname@example.org