Flooding is not a new problem in Dauphin County, but communities are gearing up for new solutions.
“It was quite horrendous,” William Doughty said of 2011’s flooding, which damaged his Hummelstown home as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee passed through central Pennsylvania.
“Friends of the family invited us over for a couple of weeks, and then I ended up going to my brother’s for a couple weeks,” Doughty said. “So we were vagabonds there for awhile.”
Doughty says it took years to bounce back.
“You don’t know what to think or do at that point,” he said with a shrug.
Doughty hopes to never go through that again. That’s Dauphin County’s goal, too.
Commissioners say they’re competing for up to 500 million dollars in public and private funds for flood planning, infrastructure improvement, and support.
“You cannot mitigate the Susquehanna River,” Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said. “But in areas that are flood-prone, how can we figure out a way to reduce the exposure and the real risk to future flooding?
“We know how we feel about it,” Dauphin County Planning Coordinator Leah Eppinger said. “But we really want to know what you feel about it.”
That’s why the county is holding a series of public meetings as it competes for funding.
“We don’t want to just hear necessarily ‘my basement got flooded,'” Eppinger said. “Yes, that’s a problem. We know that, we’re going to do our best effort to fix it. But also, what can we do as a county and as a government to help you live better, work better, commute better, travel better?”
People like William Doughty say that’s a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Dought said about the public meetings. “At times like that, a lot of people need all the help they can get. If something’s in place and it’s going to be more to the benefit of the people affected by the flood, it definitely is a plus.”
The public meetings will be held on August 24 at the Halifax VFW at 6:30 p.m., August 25 at the Swatara Township Building at 10 a.m., and August 26 at the Middletown MCSO Building at 6:30 p.m.
For more information about the meetings, visit www.resilientdauphincounty.org.