Flooding fears for home, store owners

DOWNINGTON, Pa. - July 1, 2013

Beth and Dana Beach of Downingtown own the antiques store at the corner of Lancaster and Manor avenues.

They have been through four major floods over the past few years.

Now they're living with the constant fear of another, as the daily threat of heavy downpours continues.

"It makes me want to cry. It does because it's a lot of work. We have to put everything up. Put all the rugs up," Beth said.

The store is at a low point about 50 yards from the creek.

The intersection has been closed repeatedly by flooding over the years and there's not much they can do about it.

The county has improved some dams upstream and created an overflow basin downstream.

That has helped some, but the floods keep coming.

"It's scary, especially for down here at the shop. We're at higher plain where we leave now, we don't have to worry about water, but we're always concerned about this area," Dana Beach said.

The Beaches keep a constant eye on the water levels with the help of their neighbor.

He has already sandbagged the stairwell leading to his basement.

It has been completely filled with water in the past.

The antiques store has also filled up.

"Everything was floating in there. There was probably two feet of water. A lot was destroyed," Beth said.

The creek is running high.

It's already up over the footpath that runs alongside; it's muddy brown water that can quickly turn destructive.

"We've had mud in [the shop]. It's just not fun," Dana said.

After 15 years living along Neshaminy Creek, Barbara Hadfield of Levittown has experienced more than her fair share of flooding.

"The whole bottom floor wiped out three times now," Hadfield said.

Barbara says she refuses to put another penny into rebuilding the back half of her home since she is always one storm away from having to do it all over again.

Barbara tells us she has a standing buyout offer from the county, but it's not much.

"What they'll give me will only cover the mortgage, which gets me out of that debt, but you still need to move on something, you can't just move for free," Hadfield said.

Meantime, Levittown resident Chasity Mariani says she will never forget what happened behind her home when Hurricane Irene hit the Delaware Valley.

"They said it crested 24 feet over where it normally is. All the decks were covered. We have a swing set in the back, it was almost to the top of the swing set," Mariani said.

Still, Chasity says she speaks for her whole family when she says there is no place the Marianis would rather live.

"I do love it. We've lived here for close to a decade. I'll take the floods every couple of years for the beauty of it all," Mariani said.

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