East Germantown residents to City: Should we expect buyouts or not?

Residents from flood-prone blocks in East Germantown hope to hear more about a potential city-led property buyout during a Tuesday night community meeting.

ACTION United, a nonprofit advocacy group, has been working closely with neighbors interested in leaving their homes and is now asking the city for a clear response.

“Our main objective is getting a straight answer,” said Jasmine Rivera, a community organizer with the organization. “Can the community expect a buyout? Yes or no. That way the community can make a decision before the rain comes.”

An annual headache

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Every summer, neighbors in the low-lying area worry when the forecast calls for a severe rainstorm.

Last year, floodwaters flowed into people’s homes and carried cars down the street. One of them, an SUV, contained a 27-year-old woman, who drowned inside after being trapped by rainfall during Tropical Storm Lee.

As of late Monday morning, no one from either the city’s Managing Director’s Office or Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Public Utilities Rina Cutler’s office had agreed to attend the meeting, said Rivera.

In early February, Brian Abernathy with the city’s Managing Director’s Office, said that his department was aware of the flooding issues, but had not had any formal discussions about a city buyout.

Joanne Dahme, a spokesperson with the Philadelphia Water Department, will be on hand to provide city officials with data mined so far from a digital model of the area’s sewer system. That study has named eight blocks where sewer renovations would not keep floodwaters at bay.

The public meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. inside the Waterview Recreation Center at 5826 McMahon St.

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