One year after Tropical Storm Lee struck the Southern Tier, people in Tioga County were celebrating. Our Elyse Mickalonis tells us about a special event that celebrated the community's efforts to recover, and the willpower of a village hit hard by floodwaters.
TIOGA COUNTY -- There was a lot to celebrate in Owego Friday, a stark contrast to one year ago when Tropical Storm Lee flooded businesses, homes and schools.
“We’re going to try and make peace and add closure to what happened to us last year and celebrate how far we’ve come on the road to recovery. Our businesses and people have come back, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Phoebe Morris, Owego Village Trustee.
Friday kicked off “Tioga Turns the Tide: Celebrating a Year of Progress in our Community.” Organizers closed Lake Street and part of Front street so that people could safely enjoy live entertainment, games, food and more.
“It’s a celebration of the spirit of Owego for surviving the devastation of the flood last year and reuniting and coming back to be, what I believe is, stronger than ever,” said Clark Hepworth, Calaboose Grill Owner.
Along with fun and games was a touching moment as politicians, organizers and community members symbolically threw olive branches into the river.
“The flood is over we hope there’s not going to be another flood and we’re going to continue to help recovery for who and what needs recovery,” said Kevin Millar, Owego Mayor.
Tom Libous, (R) Senate- Binghamton, added, “A year ago this was not a pleasant situation and they’ve come back together, so it’s a good beginning, this is going to be a wonderful evening.”
People here say this event showcases how Owego and communities like it have been resilient since Lee hit.
“We’re recovering rapidly and I’m so happy. We’ve come a huge, long way. We’re making big strides,” said Jenny Ceccerelli, Village Board Trustee
Jenny Ceccerelli, Village Board Trustee, added, “Owego, Tioga County, Broome County is alive and we are survivors and we continue to flourish.If you haven't been to the village of Owego, please come back. It's nothing short of a miracle."
Celebrating a year of recovery, rebuilding and neighbors helping neighbors.
The fun will continue Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Countryside Community Center on Sheldon Guile Boulevard. There will be a free bouncy house, horseshoes, car seat giveaway and more.