Thirteen flood prone homes near the shoreline in West Haven are set to be demolished soon as part of a federally funded flood recovery program.
When Superstorm Sandy battered the Connecticut shoreline in 2012, the area around the Old Field Creek was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in West Haven.
“With the water coming in, it just rises, and once it’s held in there, the water continues to rise on the next high tide and just pushes it onto all of these properties,” said West Haven Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Scott Schwartz.
Eight homes on the 3rd Ave. Extension are among the 13 now marked for demolition in the neighborhood.
“No structures will be allowed to be built on it, so it could in essence become hiking trails, natural hiking trails,” said Eileen Krugel, the City of West Haven’s grant writer and the program manager.
West Haven first responders are glad there will be fewer residents in harm’s way, if another severe storm hits the Connecticut coast.
“You get water that high, you are putting citizens in danger,” said Schwartz, who is the city’s Emergency Management Director, “you’re putting the firefighters in danger trying to rescue them out, so I do believe it’s the right move.”
Demolition is set to begin soon, but first West Haven firefighters and police utilized a few of the homes for training drills.
“To have the type of experience, it’s invaluable,” Schwartz said, “you can’t get that from any place else other than in a live fire situation.”
The residents who moved out sold their houses for what they were worth before Sandy flooded them, Krugel said.
Others are choosing to still live in the neighborhood, potentially in the path of another major storm.
“Hopefully, even in doing this and taking out some of the structures, it will relieve the flooding for the people that remain,” Krugel said.
West Haven is taking other steps to reduce the risk of flooding near the shoreline. The city will use federal grant money to raise a stretch of Beach Street by five feet and there are plans to clean out the area around Old Field Creek.