Grants to boost Fort Plain businesses hit by flood

FORT PLAIN – The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce awarded grants to six Fort Plain businesses that were affected by last June’s flood.

Chamber president Mark Kilmer presented the businesses with $1,000 checks at The Table at Fort Plain restaurant on Tuesday.

Kilmer said the chamber wanted to help the village businesses because they struggled so much from the flooding last summer.

“I don’t think anything compares to the frustration, the pain and the damage that you all went through with the flood in June, and nobody understands that but you,” he said. “But hopefully [this grant] will help you a little bit and bring your lives back. All of you have brought your businesses back and, on behalf of the chamber, we’re all very proud of that, and we’re happy to see that you stuck together as a village.”

The chamber raised money from September through November, and received 20 completed grant applications.

Grant recipients included: David Frederick, owner of Erie Station; Dana and Tim Shaffer, owners of The Classic Image; Val Lawson, owner of The Lotus Center; Melissa Brown, owner of A White Rose Bed & Breakfast; Igor Lensky, owner of Lensky & Son Enterprises Inc.; and Paul Hage, retail property owner of three storefronts on Main Street.

“This is another little helpful donation,” Tim Shaffer said. “We’ve been getting donations from everywhere. If it wasn’t for the donations, I would have closed the business. It would have been done, I would have walked away. But the donations have put me back in business.”

David Frederick agreed with Shaffer.

“This [grant] will come in handy for equipment that we still have to replace and just like [Tim Shaffer] said, every little bit helps,” Frederick said.

Mayor Guy Barton thanked the chamber and the village residents for persevering through the disaster.

“If it wasn’t for you people, Fort Plain wouldn’t be where it is today,” Barton said.

The mayor said the flood recovery is going well.

“The Dollar Store is reopening this week,” Barton said. “There are many small businesses looking to come to Fort Plain; activity here is very good and I’ve had calls at my house and my office from people looking to start businesses here and they want my help finding a spot. This is a thriving community. The people of Fort Plain make Fort Plain; they put in a lot of time and effort to get this village back to where it was.”

Barton said he’s sent Federal Emergency Management Agency information to the state, and now he’s waiting to hear back regarding how much money the village will receive.

“We haven’t received any [FEMA] money yet, but that might take six months to a year to get,” he said. “We’re looking at millions of dollars worth of damage. We have to do what we have to do to get it back to where we were, and hopefully we don’t ever have to go through this again.”