LACKAWANNA, N.Y. -- Neighbors who live along Smokes Creek in Lackawanna have spent years trying to get the government to do something about the erosion problem in their backyards.
The DiVito family first brought the problem up at a city council meeting more than eight years ago. We met them in the spring of 2016 as they tried to get various government groups to help them.
“It seems to be increasingly falling away faster and faster," said Tom DiVito.
Since we first met Tom, the city paid for and completed a study on the creek. The Lackawanna Mayor told 2 On Your Side Tuesday night that the city came up with three repair options ranging from $800,000 to $1.5 million. That money is not in the city's budget, so funding would have to come from the state or federal government.
"There shouldn't have to be a disaster before something can be corrected," said Pat DiVito.
Tom and Pat took their concerns to a FEMA open house Tuesday, where people were getting answers about new flood plain maps. The DiVitos spoke with a FEMA rep who assured them the DEC and the US Army Corps of Engineers would be contacting them to set up an on-site inspection.
"We need a collaborative effort from everyone involved, not just, well, we only do soil, we can't touch that, we only do this, but we still have to have for lack of a better word, a gross meeting with all of these people together because I'm not going to lose my house to this. I think there's a sense of satisfaction at least a little bit from here," said Tom DiVito.
Tom said he thinks the elected officials are paying more attention to his problem now since he reached out to so many different agencies. We will keep you posted as he continues trying to get help to fix his backyard.