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Sayreville Sandy Victims Say Goodbye As They Take Buyouts

Departing Homeowners Were Joined By Sen. Robert Menendez
Sen. Robert Menendez with Sandy victims in Sayreville, N.J. - June 28, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

Sen. Robert Menendez with Sandy victims in Sayreville, N.J. – June 28, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Some victims of superstorm Sandy in New Jersey are taking buyouts from the federal government to sell their homes.

Sen. Robert Menendez says almost 130 homeowners in Sayreville are being offered pre-Sandy value for their properties.

“[The] funding is a lifeline to get people out of harm’s way and on their way to a better, safer place,” he said. “The opportunity for a voluntary buyout is not the panacea that completes the recovery from disaster, but it is relief that will come to them as individuals in need of help as they recover.”

But, as WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported Friday, some of the homeowners are having a hard time saying goodbye.

Kathy Hogue has lived in a rented apartment since Sandy hit, but she still returned each night to her gutted, blue, two-story home on Weber Avenue to watch the sunset.

“Looks like the Serengeti when you’re sitting out there in the evening and the birds are chirping and the sunset is going down and it’s just gorgeous,” she told Miller.

She said it’s heartbreaking to walk away from her dream house.

“So it’s not a choice anymore. It’s a necessity,” she said.

Elaine Konopka, who was known as the “Grandmother of Weber Avenue,” said she didn’t want to sell her home.

But after three floods, she said, “I don’t want to lose a family member just because of a flood.”

She said her neighbors there were like her family.

Weber Avenue could be turned into a park by the end of the year if everyone takes the buyouts.

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