The best opportunity

After hearing of a project that would bring flood mitigation resources to the borough of Muncy, which has forty percent of it’s homes in flood zones, I could not remain silent. The Muncy Borough Council has an opportunity to acquire the former Muncy Opera House. It would then be rehabbed into a flood resiliency center that the state wants to establish in Muncy. For the first time, the state has eyes on the borough for something positive. This center would provide educational resources for municipal, state, and possibly national officials to learn and discuss hazard mitigation methods. Working with a representative of the Dept. of Community and Economic Development, a $250,000 grant has been secured to develop an action plan for the center. This action plan would establish a foundation which would then take ownership and management of the mitigation center. The center would then approach state, federal and private partners for funding to turn Muncy into a model community showcasing mitigation methods. These are organizations with big money to put into the project. Penn State architectural students are working on a design for the building. The Rural Law Institute, also at Penn State, is working on the legal structure of the above mentioned foundation. The building would serve as a place where, in working with the State of Pennsylvania, education, discussion and development of flood mitigation methods would take place and money would be poured into the borough, assisting those in harm’s way to mitigate their homes. Why is this important or why should it be important to anyone not in the flood zones? The flood insurance debacle is not solved; the Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act, passed by the same inept Congress that passed the original disaster simply slows the increase of the cost of flood insurance down. Those rates for homeowners, and businesses, will still rise to $10,000, $11,000 or more a year. The plan to purchase the Muncy Opera House and convert it to a Flood Mitigation Center, is meeting resistance from certain borough council people. Why? I would like to hear their reasons. Is it because most of them live in the south end of the borough, where the flood zones do not exist and they feel it is not their problem? Is it because they do not want to be bothered, simply feeling complacent to sit, keep street lights on, streets plowed, basic maintenance performed and nothing else? The building is being donated, the initial money to get a start on this project is there, secured, waiting. This is a way to not only help borough property owners in the flood zones up out of the muck, mess and danger, it is also a way to provide leadership based in our town, for the entire state of Pennsylvania on hazard mitigation and resiliency. I urge Muncy residents to show up at the next borough council meeting, make yourself heard. This may be the best opportunity to do something significant for this town which at present has forty percent of it’s homes in flood zones. Jeff Smead Muncy Submitted by Virtual Newsroom

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