On the one year anniversary of Hurricane-turned Tropical Storm Irene, some Seaford residents in a neighborhood just south of Merrick Road are still trying to rebuilding their flood-damaged homes.
After more than a dozen homes on Narraganset Avenue , many residents on the block lobbied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Now many of the affected homeowners have decided to elevate their houses in order to comply with FEMA standards.
Three years before Irene hit the area from Aug. 27-28, the Town of Hempstead had proposed raising Narraganset Avenue to help reduce flooding, but many residents opposed the plan since it did not include sewer locks.
One of the Narraganset Avenue residents to elevate their home and protect it from future flooding was Mary Kate Tischler, who needed to redesign her house from scratch after Irene and has still not been able to move back in. She said that the framing and the exterior of her house is mostly completed but the interior still needs plenty of work including insulation, drywall, painting, flooring and kitchen installation.
“While our goal was to be able to return to living in our home by the one-year anniversary, the process has taken longer than expected, and we are now hoping to be back in the house by the late fall,” Tischler said. "Many of our neighbors are also in the process of elevating their homes and rebuilding, and all of us are in various stages of that process.”
Tischler said that hardships she and her Narraganset Avenue neighbors have faced in the last year has brought them closer together.
“While this process has been an endurance test for all of us, we have certainly learned the truth behind the cliché that ‘what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,” she said. “Through shared adversity, we have had the opportunity to build friendships and strong bonds with many of our neighbors, which are hopefully friendships that will last a lifetime because after all of the work that we have put into re-building our home, we plan to never leave.”