People in Bloomsburg can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Mayor Dan Knorr says, "The idea of flood protection has been something that isn't just years in the making but literally decades in the making."
After the flood waters destroyed countless homes and businesses back in September of 2011, a flood protection plan was put at the forefront once again.
Derrick O'Connell with Autoneum remembers the flood of 2011, "The water was just coming in at unbelievable rates and we couldn't do anything and we felt kind of helpless."
But help is now here. Columbia County has received a 15 million dollar federal grant and the state and county will match, totaling 30 million dollars for a flood protection system. It will protect Autoneums, formerly known as Rieter Automotive North America and Windsor Foods, two of Columbia County's largest employers.
O'Connell adds, "I think it's really important. It puts trust back into our customers. They know that we have a plan in place and we're going to prevent that from happening in the future."
Lawmakers say this will help keep jobs in Columbia County that may have gone searching for higher ground, "I don't think it's an understatement to say we're saving 900 critical manufacturing jobs and the guarantee of these businesses will not only be able to stay in business but will grow and create new jobs," says Rep. Lou Barletta.
Plans still need to be finalized but they hope to have the flood protection system in place within the next three years.