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Brandon Rush boats Sam Paul and Clelia Turbeville to check on their home in the Rosewood neighborhood in Socastee on Thursday. Several streets in the neighborhood are flooded again. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Nearly three years after Hurricane Florence’s devastation, Horry County will receive more than $13 million to help Socastee flood victims get out of harm’s way.

State and local officials on Tuesday announced a local buyout program, which will allow the government to purchase properties that have repeatedly flooded. Those homeowners would then move, their former houses would be razed and the land would not be allowed to hold housing again. The buyout news comes as Socastee residents struggle with yet another flood from last month's heavy rains.

“It’s a very difficult thing to endure, especially when it’s repetitive,” said Horry County Councilman Cam Crawford, whose own Socastee home flooded after Florence. “The most immediate solution for the most vulnerable in the Socastee area was a buyout.”

The voluntary program will cover the cost of buying and demolishing more than 60 homes along the Intracoastal Waterway. County officials plan to hold a virtual seminar at 3 p.m. on March 23 to provide information about the program to residents in the designated area. Homeowners outside of this community can apply directly to the S.C. Disaster Recovery Office. For those details, visit https://florence.scstormrecovery.com/.

More than 100 people filled out buyout interest forms last year, and the county plans to contact them to explain the process. But even those who did not fill out the forms may be eligible for a buyout if they meet the criteria. 

“This relocation program is a key component to address flooding in the Socastee community and is a practical solution that will provide relief to those living in vulnerable flood areas,” state Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford, R-Socastee, said in a news release.

In total, the county will receive nearly $16 million from this round of grants, according to the release. Along with the buyout money, more than $2.4 million will go toward infrastructure projects in the Bucksport area.

County officials had asked for money to pay for a study to look at the impact of carving a channel system that would connect the Cowford Swamp wetlands with the Waccamaw River.

“The first segment flowing from west to east is proposed as a channel,” county records state. “From the end of that section and continuing east, a length of culvert would be placed to and across Bucksport Road. East of Bucksport Road, a channel would be constructed from Bucksport Road to an elevation that would maintain positive flow to the Waccamaw River.”

The county had requested funding to pay for the study and construction of this project.

Check back for updates.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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