Petroski, 64, has lived at
Like many flood victims, Petroski is still waiting for his buyout offer from the
"If they give me enough money, I'm out of here," Petroski said on a recent sunny day. "Meanwhile, I'll keep checking the river levels."
And that's life in the flood plain -- the constant fear that the river will swell and come through your front door. Property owners are required to have flood insurance, but the cost of that protection rises by 18 percent each year.
Others have incurred the cost of elevating their homes, but the water will still reach their basements, where expensive items like heating units and electrical systems are housed.
Asked why he moved to this flood-prone area, Petroski said it was closer to work.
"But I can't put up with another flood," he said. "My wife and daughter don't want to move, but I just can't handle the anxiety."
"It's not a question of if we will have another flood -- it's a matter of when," she said, pointing to several vacant lots where homes and rental buildings once stood.
Conrad said a lot of people have built homes along
Conrad disputes the claim, which was made back in 2004. She said the frequency of floods, the increase in buyouts and the costs associated with the devastation have far outweighed what the cost of a levee system would have been.
"In hindsight, it would have been a lot cheaper to build the dikes," Conrad said. "And people would have been able to remain in the homes they love and have lived in for 40 or 50 years."
Conrad said there is a meeting tonight at
Conrad said the high cost of flood insurance will be discussed, along with what the government will do, or won't do, in the event of future flooding.
Bonita said one-third of the borough -- population 4,886 -- sits in the flood plain.
"When the flood hit in 2011, everybody was in favor of building the levees," Brozena said.
Brozena disputes the contention that the existing levees have created more flooding in the unprotected areas.
"There never has been a study done regarding that," he said. "The reason there was more flooding is there was much more water in 2011."
Brozena said that during Tropical Storm Agness in 1972, the river rose to 41 feet. In 2011, he said, the river was measured at 43 feet.
Brozena said he estimates that if the levees in the
Brozena said the concern for the cost of flood insurance, which has been rising by 18 percent each year, is justified and that
Everybody has fire insurance, but few have to use it, he argued. He said everyone living in the flood plain should have flood insurance.
Brozena said that since 2011, about 250 homes have either been purchased by
A business survives
Stookey's Famous BBQ on
"It's been tough," Frank said. "The flood of 2011 was worse than 1972. We had a lot more damage here."
With a busy highway in front and the potentially raging river behind, Frank said there is always concern. Just last week a car rammed the front of the building, causing extensive damage.
Frank said he doesn't want to ever close the business -- he hopes to be there to celebrate the 100th anniversary.
"So many people have met their sweethearts here," he said. "This place is filled with many memories for a lot of people."
But if another flood comes -- one as bad or worse than 2011 -- Frank said it might be the last straw.
"I don't want to say it, but if that happened, we would have to think about closing," he said. "This place is in my DNA, but you can only sustain so much."
A happy home
Like a lot of flood victims, Josephine said she and her husband had a lot of help to repair their home and move back in after the 2011 flood. She said her nephew,
"And you have to have flood insurance," Josephine said. "But whenever we hear about a storm coming, we get concerned about the river rising. You just never know."
The Bizubs have raised four children in their home. They enjoy the quietness of the neighborhood.
"We have good neighbors," she said. "But there's only six of us left here. Many of them have moved out."
And if another flood comes, Josephine said it would probably push her and Joseph to a senior citizens high rise.
"I don't think we could go through it again," she said.
It's been five years since the last flood, and that's just fine with Josephine. She was busy tending to the large vegetable garden she and her husband have cultivated in their backyard.
"This is home," she said.
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