Posts Tagged ‘wayne’

Hoffman Grove slowly slips away

I first wrote about Hoffman Grove back in 2006 when I explored the area after one of the homes there was listed in the paper for sale. $200K for a house in Wayne? Yeah, what’s the catch? Oh yeah… constant flooding. Read the original post for the full story, but I found much had changed since I last visited in 2008. here’s some pics. At that time the community was still vibrant and most had refused to be bought out. There was an attitude of “this is what we have to put up with” and the desire to stay was string. After several floods in 2008, the state took action and in 2009, 36 homes were slated to be bought out.. There were several bad floods in early 2011, but Hurricane irene in August of 2011 was the final blow. FEMA stepped in and most of the remaining homes were bought out.

I took a visit to Hoffman grove this morning and what I saw was depressing. There were still many homes left, but most had plywood over the 1st level windows. Some had them over the doors and garage entrances as well. Yet I could clearly see curtains and items inside the 2nd floor windows. And some had cars in front of them. After driving around several times it became clear: cars meant there was a current resident. No cars meant no one was there and never would be again. Many left behind gas grills, toys, lawn furniture and other personal possessions. Saddest of all was the sight of this flag, upside down, the official sign for distress.

here are some pictures I took, the rest are on Flickr

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36 more homes to be torn down in Hoffman grove

Part of federal buyout plan

IN A MATTER of weeks, 36 homes in Wayne will no longer exist, and, uncharacteristically for New Jersey, nothing will be built in their place. These are houses whose home is a flood plain — first to fill with water from the Pompton River, last to dry. For years, residents in the Hoffman Grove neighborhood have endured the river’s swell, their homes overtaken by the flow, then left damp and moldy in the ebb.

More than inconvenient, the area is seen as dangerous to residents and first responders, and expensive to insure. And so begins part two of the biggest home buyout in the state, in which Wayne pays market rate for 105 houses located well within the Passaic River basin. “If we save one life, we are making a truly significant impact,” Sgt. 1st Class Robert Little of the state Office of Emergency Management told The Record.

And that makes it worth every penny. Wayne has spent $500,000 of its own money so far, and $10.5 million in federal and state funds. The first phase of the buyout last year resulted in 34 houses being razed. There are about 105 houses in all. Flooding is also expensive. Wayne takes second place in the state for property lost in flooding, Staff Writer Andrea Alexander wrote Friday. Atlantic City is first. In 2007, the year of the terrible April nor’easter, the National Flood Insurance Program paid $152.6 million for more than 7,000 claims made by New Jersey residents. Returning Hoffman Grove to its natural state is the only answer.