“We’re not doing it for us,” said John Reagan. “We’re doing it for the town and the future.” Reagan, who owns the popular eatery and community hub with wife Patty, was on the job site helping to prep the building for the move.
Both Reagans said they were encouraged by the tremendous amount of encouragement and support from the community to rebuild.
Two groups, the Wilmington Fund VT and the Friends of the Valley Foundation, have been instrumental in helping the Reagans raise funds to rebuild. A concert at Memorial Hall this past Saturday raised more than $20,000 toward the goal. The entire project could cost as much as $800,000, and will not be fully covered by the Reagan’s insurance.
“They’re the ones who are making this happen,” said Reagan.
The event brought scores of people into the village to watch. Many were excited that Dot’s would be rebuilt on the same spot.
The building was moved in two parts. The north end of the building was the first section to go. Crews from SMR Contracting separated the building into two sections, along the lines where two smaller structures were joined many years before. On Tuesday, the first section was hoisted into the air by a giant crane and swung onto some cribbing, a temporary resting place while the new foundation is poured.
On Wednesday, crews completed the move. The south section of the building was picked up and swung around, and now sits next to its sibling.
Dot’s Restaurant was one of the most heavily damaged buildings in the August 28 flooding. Initially, the building was thought to be too far gone to be saved. But the Reagans, after gauging the support from many in the community, continued to pursue the idea of rebuilding on the same site. Eventually, a plan was formulated that entailed lifting the current building, constructing a new, flood-proof foundation, and then setting the building back on top of the new base.
The new foundation will raise the building several feet above the current one, and according to engineers, will allow the building to withstand floodwaters like the village saw last year.
As to whether or not Dot’s will survive a similar disaster, all Reagan could say was “We’ll find out with the next flood.”