Rosewood residents protest county over flooding, mitigation plans

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Socastee residents in the Rosewood community protested to advocate for flood prevention options. Residents say thousands of wasted dollars and years of flood damage has resulted in no solution from county leaders.

Rosewood Strong is a grassroots organization made up of flood survivors enduring devastating flooding since 2015. Fast forward five years, residents demand a ‘rise or retreat plan’ from local Horry County leaders.

Each Rosewood Strong member has their own story.

“The first damage was two feet which were the worst damage because physiologically you aren’t ready for that,” Vivien Vega, Rosewood community resident said.

Vega was close to retiring when Hurricane Matthew caused damage that would take two years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

With each storm comes an increasing struggle for water to retrieve. Rosewood neighbors have been close to losing everything — cars, personal items, life savings.

Flooding victims say a buyout option would bring hope and an end to the anxiety that overwhelms the neighborhood during a storm. Vega says buyout support would likely help her pay all the loans she’s had to take covering repairs and help her retire on time.

“My children lost their jobs because they didn’t even have transportation so it’s just been a nightmare,” Vega said.

On Monday they demanded a buyout program that would include funding to escape their flooded homes and move into another neighborhood. The other option being protested would assist in funding raising neighbor’s homes for protection.

“That’s all we are asking for is support, Rosewood resident and leader of Rosewood Strong Melissa Krupa said. “We are not asking you to do some crazy thing or put out a crazy amount of money we are just asking you to interact and support us.”

Horry County council member Cam Crawford said the county’s moving towards a relocation program involving multiple levels of government initiating a $160 million grant. Horry County would then get a portion of that money to allocate to flood-prone communities, like Rosewood, for relocation purposes, according to Crawford.

“We are working to secure money from hud for a relocation program,” Crawford said. “The way it works is the money comes from HUD and it goes to the disaster and recovery office in Columbia, that’s a state office at the state level.”

Crawford said progress to the buyout mitigation plans could come as soon as fall or winter.

Crawford also mentioned COVID-19 is a delaying factor in coordinating buyout plans and funding with federal agencies.

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