GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — After more than six years, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone who lost their homes in the 2016 flooding in Greenbrier County.
In June of 2016, devastating flooding hit Greenbrier County. Experts say the flood caused a level of destruction seen only once every thousand years.
“We had just under two dozen people that died,” said State Senator Stephen Baldwin, who represents Greenbrier County. “Not to mention all the damage that was done to houses and businesses, totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”
In a recent report published by the state, they announced the RISE program now has only 13 more houses to rebuild, with construction on the final houses expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Senator Baldwin said it’s great news for the families, but he’s frustrated the rebuilding project has taken this long.
“If you’re a family that’s been waiting to get back into permanent housing for six years now, to say the timing is bad is a slap in the face. You know, it’s much worse than that,” said Baldwin.
The rebuilding process was never supposed to take as long as it has. The Coronavirus pandemic, and resulting supply chain shortages, have forced some families to live without a permanent home for longer than they ever anticipated.
But still, when the final 13 houses are finished, it will represent a significant landmark in recovery from one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit West Virginia. And it will allow the state to move to the next phase of the RISE program.
“It’s the first step in recovery,” said Senator Baldwin. “Has it taken a long time? Yes. But we’re finally going to be there at the end of the year having everybody back in their homes. And then it’s time to move on to work on infrastructure and economic development. Those are the next two phases that we haven’t even gotten to yet.”
Infrastructure projects will include maintenance on stormwater systems, and economic development will focus on restoring local businesses and bringing more jobs to the community.