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Post-superstorm buyouts get boost as summer nears

6-7-14

SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is stepping up its efforts to buy homes in flood-prone areas and tear them down as the second summer after Superstorm Sandy approaches.

The goal of the $300 million Blue Acres program is to create open spaces to serve as buffers against future storms and to prevent costly repairs to homes that are likely to flood again.

One neighborhood in Sayreville has embraced the program in a big way, with 47 homes slated to come down by next month.

Lou Szabo’s house was one of the first to go.

He says the street near the Raritan River has always flooded; he and his friends used to have boat races down the street when the waters rose.

The state has targeted 900 homes for buyouts and hopes to eventually knock down 1,300.

So far, 193 property owners have accepted buyouts at pre-Sandy prices.