Recovery from 2016 flood still far from complete

In the closing moments of Tuesday’s meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission, members spoke about the deadly flood of 2016. Tuesday marked the fourth anniversary of that tragic event. Commissioner Tammy Tincher urged all to hold close the memories of the people and possessions that were lost on that fateful day. Statewide, 23 people perished in the flood, 16 of them from Greenbrier County. (Register-Herald file photo)

LEWISBURG — In the closing moments of Tuesday’s meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission, members spoke about the deadly flood of 2016. Tuesday marked the fourth anniversary of that tragic event.

Commissioner Tammy Tincher urged all to hold close the memories of the people and possessions that were lost on that fateful day. Statewide, 23 people perished in the flood, 16 of them from Greenbrier County.

Commission President Lowell Rose spoke about how frustrating the slow pace of flood recovery has been for the county’s residents. He and his fellow commissioners share in that frustration, Rose said, as does Paula Brown, who coordinates the county’s flood recovery efforts through the Homeland Security and Emergency Management office.

“We’re working our way through it,” Rose said, noting that progress finally is being made. As proof of that, he pointed to the six bids that were unsealed earlier in the meeting.

Contractors were bidding to win the job to demolish buildings that were damaged severely enough in the flood that FEMA bought the properties and will pay to have the structures torn down and removed.

Low bidders were Lewisburg-based L.D. Hanna & Son and Lynch Construction Company, which calls White Sulphur Springs home.

Rose said all six bids will be forwarded to Brown for review before the contract is awarded.

State Sen. Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, also added some context to the day with a Tuesday post on social media in which he discussed the anniversary of “the most devastating flooding event in our lifetime.”

He noted that 221 West Virginia families are still waiting for their homes to be rebuilt through the federally-funded RISE program. Baldwin acknowledged that the National Guard and VOAD organization have made “significant progress” over the past year in that rebuilding effort. Several privately-funded projects are also in the midst of flood-related construction projects, he added.

“The flood brought out the best in the community,” Baldwin wrote. “We came together like never before. We need that spirit of community once again to continue the healing process.”

— Email: talvey@register-herald.com

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