Just three days after Rep. Leonard Lance met with Cranford officials to discuss preparations that were being made in anticipation of Hurricane Irene, the congressman toured the flood-ravaged township — with U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Sen. Tom Kean Jr. and Mayor Dan Aschenbach to assess the damage.
Tuesday afternoon, a motorcade of police vehicles with the politicians, Aschenbach, other township officials and members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers left the makeshift command center near the Cranford Municipal Building and the Fire Department on a tour of the neighborhoods hit hardest hit by Hurricane Irene.
But before they left, a resident waded into the scrum of reporters surrounding the politicians and told them to make improvements to the banks of the Rahway River in oder to protect the residents and their homes. "I am not one of you," the woman, who would not give her name, said, "But I am one of the residents who is sick of nothing being done to help us."
On Saturday, Cranford was the first municipality in Union County to call for a mandatory evacuation when Aschenbach said the dike issue, which became known to him last week, came as the Army Corps of Engineers was preparing a final report on the condition of the township's flood prevention system for the end of September or the beginning of October. The preliminary report showed several areas where the dikes have unstable soil that could fail in the event of a high water and heavy rain event.
The mayor and other township officials had a meeting previously scheduled for next month with federal officials in Manhattan to discuss the flood study, which would be used to determine the possibility of obtaining additional federal funds for future stages of the township's flood prevention project, which has been ongoing since the 1999 Hurricane Floyd flood.
The political leaders were escorted around the devastated neighborhoods and met with residents. Check back to Patch later for a full story on the residents and how they're feeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and their lives along the Rahway River.