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Gibson says he'll fight for Thurman flood relief funds

THURMAN-On a local jaunt Tuesday, June 7 to a bridge washed out by the recent extensive flooding, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson pledged to lobby federal officials for money to repair the widespread damage throughout Thurman and northern Warren County.

Thurman Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood, hosting the tour, estimated the damage to local roads and bridges from the widespread flooding over Memorial Day weekend to cost $7 million. That sum is than 10 times the sum of the town's annual operating budget.

"If we have to pay for this damage, our town will face bankruptcy," she said. "It's imperative we get federal and state help."

Standing on the remains of bridge on Combs Road that was washed out, Gibson said he was hopeful that federal assistance would be approved.

He said he was lobbying hard to get the damage occurring in late May in upstate New York - including Warren County - to be included in disaster relief payments earmarked for earlier flooding events.The damage in northern Warren County over Memorial Day weekend has been estimated to total $12.7 million.

Gibson noted that just days ago, the U.S. House of Representatives had passed a bill adding $800 million towards storm relief.

"Clearly, there is need for relief here in Thurman," he said.

Gibson said h e would be lobbying with the Obama Administration to make Small Business Administration funds available to families in Thurman and northern Warren County whose properties suffered flood damage. Such money would come in the form of loans and competitive grants, based on need, he said.

On May 28, virtually every road in Thurman experienced washouts due to persistent heavy rains, and several bridges were swept away. The flooding stranded 100 families or so, plus many properties were damaged, particularly driveways.

Access to all but 12 to 15 families has since been restored, with town of Thurman and Warren County highway employees working long hours to restore at least one lane of traffic on local roadways.

The Town board has set a special meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 9 to discuss how to at least temporarily pay for road repairs.

Gibson praised these highway employees and Supervisor Wood for their fast response and long hours of work.

He also praised area residents for their efforts in assisting each other in the calamity, actions that have been detailed in the Adirondack Journal and other media.

"I'm impressed with the leadership at the town and county level, and how neighbors reached out to help neighbors," he said.

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