- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - The normally placid Gunners Brook overflowed its banks again, damaging 80 homes, making seven uninhabitable and forcing about 30 people into shelters, officials said Monday.

The flooding came as state officials continued work on a report that recommended that between 25 and 30 structures along the brook that winds through the city be purchased and demolished so the area could become a flood plain.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, giving condolences to affected homeowners and promising state assistance to city officials Monday, said it was the fourth time in the 4 1/2 years he’s been governor that he’s visited Barre in the aftermath of flooding.

“We will get Barre back on its feet and also commit to ensuring that in a world where we seem to get these storms more often, we’re going to work together as a team to try and mitigate this kind of challenge in the future,” Shumlin said during an afternoon news conference.

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, Shumlin made it a priority for the state to make the state better prepared to handle future flooding, which he maintains is more common in the age of climate change.

Barre was one of several communities hit by flooding that began late Sunday and lasted into Monday morning, when the waters receded and left mud covering the streets.

The Gunners Brook area is the focus of a study by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development that was commissioned after 2011 flooding to find ways of mitigating future damage. The study contains 19 recommendations for five areas in seven communities that are at high risk of flooding, including the proposal to remove more than two dozen structures in Barre.

Karen Dente-George was helping move mud away from Dente’s Market. The store is run by her father, who she said learned how to protect the store in the aftermath of previous flooding.

“It blew the doors open the last time it flooded so we did everything we could to hold the doors shut,” she said. “It was just a waiting game.”

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