“Restore PA” aims to avoid local disasters

Local News

In the summer of 2018, our area had severe flooding. Communities across the region experienced record rainfall, and with it came severe damage. Some of those victims have not been able to recover, and now, officials are hoping a new proposal will help them get the money they need.

On Wednesday, the acting director of PEMA walked through some of the remaining damage in Huntingdon from last summer’s flooding.

He, along with Huntingdon’s mayor and the EMA director for the county, said “Restore Pennsylvania” will help communities avoid disaster before it strikes.

“The trends have shown us that we’re seeing a lot of higher intensity, shorter duration precipitation incidents, so they create some significant localized impact, and those localized impacts don’t rise to the level of getting a federal disaster declaration,” Randy Padfield, acting director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) said.

Governor Wolf’s “Restore Pennsylvania” initiative propose a severance tax on the state’s natural resources, resulting in more state funding for more preventative and responsive actions.

“The statistics show us that, even if you live outside of a flood plane, you should have flood insurance. Most people don’t, so when they are flooded, because of flash flooding, they are impacted adversely, and this program is designed to be able to assist those folks to be able to recover in a more timely fashion,” Padfield said.

Huntingdon recently finished replacing and repairing a 50 foot archway near the Muddy Run enclosure, costing the borough $300,000. The mayor, David Wessell, said the governor’s plan will help prevent problems like that from happening in the future.

“We have to repair it. We don’t have a choice, but we need to do it beforehand because we won’t be able to afford it afterwards, and afterwards means businesses, building lost, parts of town that just aren’t gonna be there anymore and parts of our history, our local history that aren’t gonna be there anymore either,” Wessell said.

Folk from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also toured Prince Gallitzin State Park to talk about how the proposal could better help them overcome challenges in Cambria County.

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