Dot’s Restaurant, the building and business that became symbolic of the damage done by Tropical Storm Irene, took flight. It didn’t go very far, but the very fact that something dramatic happened on that site is something worth noting.
The dozens of locals and visitors who paused and watched as the flood-ravaged building was lifted off its foundation and moved underscore the impact the reconstruction work is having on the community.
What does it mean to have renovation and reconstruction work on Dot’s Restaurant underway? Quite a bit. The work is symbolic of the rebuilding of the region. It’s another significant milestone along the path to recovery. It’s one more step, a big one, toward making the valley whole again.
But there’s still quite a bit more to do. There are plenty of empty buildings in Wilmington village. Some suffered physical damage from the flood. Others suffered economic damage from not just the flood, but the down economy over the past couple of years and horrendous winter we recently suffered through.
Regardless of how many buildings are rebuilt, the village won’t truly be whole again until the storefronts are filled, businesses are busy, and people are willing to shop there.
There are other areas that still face lots of rebuilding efforts: South Newfane, the Auger Hole Road area, Wardsboro, Jamaica, and other pockets across the state that still bear the scars of Irene’s rage. They may have not received the attention that Wilmington and some other towns around the state have, but needs of those communities and their residents are every bit as important. The needs of those areas have to be met as well.
Aside from the physical reconstruction, there are still countless lives to be put back together. Some families who lost homes are still waiting for promised assistance, mostly financial. Others people who lost jobs are still looking for work, and no doubt some have given up. Still others have emotional scars that will take time to heal, if they ever do.
But, for at least a couple of days, spirits were lifted along with the wood frame of Dot’s Restaurant. To see the structure suspended over the river that was the conduit for so much harm last August was inspiring. It showed once again that Wilmington, and the valley, truly are places where amazing happens.