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Staten Island Home of Woman Whose Family Died in Sandy Bought by City

By Nicholas Rizzi | October 11, 2013 9:24am
 The Tottenville home of Patricia Dresch was the first acquired by the city through Build it Back.
City Acquired First Sandy Damaged Home
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ST. GEORGE — The Staten Island home of a woman whose husband and 13-year-old daughter died during Hurricane Sandy became the city's first acquisition though the NYC Build it Back program.

The city bought the Tottenville property of Patricia Dresch and will redevelop the lot where her home once stood, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at Staten Island Borough Hall.

Dresch, who has been living in a local rectory since the storm, said she was glad to be able to move on from the home, but had mixed feelings about the move.

"It's very nerve wracking," Dresch said. "I'm saying goodbye to something I lived on for 30 years, and now I'm able to move on to something to start a new chapter in my life."

Separate from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's buy out program in Oakwood Beach, Build it Back will acquire houses in Sandy damaged neighborhoods across the borough and redevelop with more resilient properties, Bloomberg said.

Unlike the state programs, which will convert the land to public space, Build it Back will build new homes on the lots, Bloomberg said.

"They're just two different approaches for two different desires," Bloomberg said. "Some will fit into some and some won't."

Nearly 24,000 residents across the city have registered for the program before the deadline on Oct. 31, Bloomberg said.

Not every homeowner who registers will get their home acquired, Bloomberg said. Some residents can instead rebuild on the land with city assistance.

But for Dresch the pain of her loss was too much for her to want to rebuild her Yetman Avenue home, which collapsed in the storm.

"I couldn't go back down there anymore," Dresch said. "I lived there 30 years, my family passed away there, I didn't want to know that property anymore."

Bloomberg said Dresch's home would be the first of many.

With the one year anniversary of the storm this month, Councilman Vincent Ignizio said this first acquisition shows the start of recovery for victims.

"Finally, we see light at the end of the tunnel," Ignizio said. "We see new hope that's coming before all of us."