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View looking north on SR 550 at the height of the June 1998 flood. Water was measured at nine feet close to where the photographer was when this picture was taken.

On June 23, 1998, Amesville got eight inches of rain in 24 hours, swamping the storm sewers and sending nearby Federal Creek over its banks. Nine feet of water took over State Street, hitting 30 to 35 homes and businesses, leaving many community members homeless and closing businesses. Because the flood began in the early morning, many people were surprised. However, the Ames-Bern Amesville Volunteer Fire Department and other residents worked quickly to alert everyone and to help those in need. Many people left their homes in boats as the water reached as high as the second storey of their houses.

After the rains subsided, many community members and volunteers worked together to clean up the damage caused by the flood. Mud and debris were everywhere and a lot of work needed to be done.

The flood relief commmittee, headed by Julie Stout, raised funds, collected donations, coordinated volunteer services and contacted other agencies to provide support to local residents. Since September 1998, 300 volunteers from local communities as well as Ohio University have helped clean up debris around town. In three weekends, volunteers filled three dumpsters with debris and garbage. Files also were found and returned to their proper owners.

The results of all that hard work can be seen today. All but two businesses have reopened, and a number of property owners have repaired their houses and returned to Amesville.

Another committe was formed to apply for mitigation funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. In May 1999, their efforts paid off: The village received notification that its application had been approved. With local matching funds, the entire project budget totaled $1.37 million. The project involves the acquisition and demolition of flood-damaged or floodprone properties and floodproofing -- raising utilities or elevating the entire structure -- of other properties. As of October 2001, the project has acquired 21 properties totaling more than 7 acres, which are being developed as a public park. Four properties have been floodproofed, including one home that was raised nearly three feet. The village also is building a new village/fire department building on higher ground.

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