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Home Elevations Begin in Owego

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By Jason Weinstein.
The first of what could be dozens of homes in the Village of Owego is being elevated to better protect it from future floods.

This home at 567 East Front Street is across from the Susquehanna River. After three weeks of prep work crews will now have 30 days finish the five-foot elevation. Village of Owego Mayor Kevin Millar says 35 homes have been approved by FEMA for elevation, 26 are working their way through the process, and six are nearing the end of the process.

"I go back to my wife a little bit who will pick on me later but she says, 'Man, we're going to have to climb up stairs.' But I think just the relief of not having to worry about another flood, to remove all worries," said homeowner Ken Henson.

"Elevation is vastly preferable to demolition. They'll stay on the tax rolls. They'll also increase the value of the house and more importantly they'll increase the flood safety of these homes if we have another flood," said Village of Owego Mayor Kevin Millar.

Millar says Owego has had nine homes demolished and nine others are being evaluated for demolition by FEMA. Henson said he went through the New York Rising program as opposed to FEMA, which would have required him to come up with money up front.