Still damage to repair, funding to find
by Randy Capitani
Sep 06, 2012 | 2560 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mount Snow’s snowmaking pumphouse roof, center, was barely visible in this photo taken after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.
Mount Snow’s snowmaking pumphouse roof, center, was barely visible in this photo taken after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.
DOVER- There is no doubt the impact of Irene was felt in this town. Many businesses along Route 100 suffered significant damage from floodwater. Mount Snow Resort was hit hard. Roads were battered by the storm, and numerous homeowners along the Rock River in East Dover saw bridges and significant amounts of land washed away. A year after the flood, there are still repairs left to be done.

According to Dover Administrative Assistant Nona Monis, the town suffered approximately $852,000 in damage. About $650,000 of that was road damage. The rest was in the flooded basement of the town offices on Route 100 and the West Dover Fire Department’s ladder truck, which was damaged attempting to rescue someone during the flood.

Insurance covered the repair costs to the fire truck and office basement. The road damage has been either pledged or paid by FEMA, with about $190,000 still outstanding.

Mount Snow was also rocked by the storm. According to general manager Kelly Pawlak, the mountain had $800,000 in losses. Some of that was physical damage from the storm, some of it was lost business during the fall foliage season.

“The largest damage was to the Snow Lake pump house, Snow Lake Lodge, and the Howe Farm foundation,” said Pawlak. “The Snow Lake pump house and all of its contents had to be replaced before the ski season as this facility is vital to the snowmaking process.  The Snow Lake Lodge work was completed prior to the ski season and the Howe Farm foundation will be replaced this fall.”

The damage to those structures was covered by insurance, according to Pawlak. The mountain also suffered damage to some ski trails, parking lots, and culverts. That was not covered by insurance and the tab to fix all of those items came to about $120,000, according to Pawlak. “Although culverts and trails have been repaired,” she added, “there is still work that needs to be done in the parking lots, but to date the funding has not been available to finish these projects.”

A number of businesses along the Deerfield River in West Dover suffered damage. The Brookhouse complex, which straddles a narrow strip of land between Route 100 and the river, had foundation under the backside of the building eroded.

Two other properties that had extensive erosion damage, the Matterhorn Inn and the Sports Odyssey ski shop, have qualified for a river bank stabilization program funded by the US Department of Agriculture. The program pays for 90% of the expenses to stabilize the river bank, while the landowner pays 10%.

“It’s terrific,” said Matterhorn owner Joe Kruszewski. “It’s just a long federal process, just like anything else. It helps, but it takes so long, and it takes so much money, but it will help when the next storm comes around. It is expensive, it is time consuming, but it will protect us in the long run.” He added the total cost for the project could run as much as $40,000.

Others commercial properties along the Route 100 corridor suffered extensive water damage, including flooded basements. One of those businesses was the Four Seasons Inn.

“The rain came down harder and faster than I have ever seen,” said owner Sandy MacDougall. “No wind, just rain. It was a very calm day as well. The river behind my inn started to rise and kept on rising till it came over the banks. We had eight guests during the flood and three dogs at the inn. All of our guests refused to be evacuated and stayed to help in any way possible. By the nighttime we were full and serving people dinner. There was no way to leave this area for a couple of days, so we had a couple of guests stay a little longer.”

The Four Seasons suffered extensive water damage, according to MacDougall. “We had a $285,000 documented loss by our insurance company.” However, financial relief didn’t come from the insurance company, or FEMA. “I got $38,000 from them and $418 from FEMA.”

MacDougall said he is still looking to recover business lost last fall and this winter. “We have not even come close to our numbers that we did last summer. The winter was a negative in respect to monies brought in. We are still trying to recover.” He said he was also turned down for Small Business Administration financing, a common response for businesses trying to dig out from the financial losses created by Irene.

Three residential properties in East Dover also qualified for the river bank stabilization program. All of them are along Goose City Road. Monis said that one of the stabilization programs has been completed.

Three properties along the Rock River in East Dover lost to access bridges during the flood. Two of the bridges have been replaced, according to Monis. One property owner, Traci Alfonso, is still without a replacement bridge. The Deerfield Valley Rotary Club has helped Alfonso by erecting a footbridge to allow access to the home, but a new bridge has yet to be built.

Kruszewski, who as a member of the Rotary Club helped get the footbridge built, summed up the hope-and-wait process of rebuilding and waiting for financial assistance.

“We lost over 50 feet of nice backyard,” he said. “Nobody will cover that, but I can’t complain because people lost their homes.”

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