Fort Plain continues to rebuild after flood

FORT PLAIN – Almost a year after flood waters inundated the village, several village business owners, local and state politicians and representatives of National Grid gathered Thursday to celebrate the ongoing recovery.

National Grid gave $467,000 to the village and Van Hornesville to help pay for flood recovery. The money is part of the Mohawk Valley Flood Recovery Emergency Aid Economic Program.

Tom Wind, regional representative for National Grid, said the money will help offset the costs associated with energy infrastructure repair and replacement; rehabilitation of commercial and mixed-use buildings; and replacement of machinery and equipment.

“When we saw the devastation to the village, we knew we had to help the community get back on its feet,” Wind said.

Village Mayor Guy Barton said the village is coming back strong after the June 2013 flood, which killed one person and damaged numerous homes and businesses.

“The village has done terrifically,” Barton said.

Barton said between 20 and 30 businesses reopened after the flooding, and at least eight new operations have come to the village after the flooding.

Several village business owners were on hand Thursday to talk about their experiences during and after the flood.

John Grimm of Geesler’s Plumbing and Hardware on Canal Street said his business was up and running in the days after the flood.

“I’ve seen some times here I don’t want to see again,” Grimm said.

Grimm spoke of people from Schoharie County coming to the village to offer residents cold drinks and diapers, since such items were in short supply.

Grimm said his business let residents take what they needed, and only asked that they write down their names and pay for items when they are able to later.

Grimm, like all the business owners who spoke Thursday, said National Grid was instrumental in helping them get back to work after the flooding.

John Hart, owner of the Save-A-Lot on Reid Street, told the crowd his business reopened within three months.

Reconstruction was ongoing at Save-A-Lot on Thursday, with a new facade being put on the front of the building.

“The good thing is [after a flood], in some cases, you come back better.” Hart said.

Barton said the village is closer to installing a new emergency alert system that will sound the alarm for village residents when disasters such as flooding and tornadoes are imminent. He said the system should arrive in the next six to eight weeks. Once the sirens are installed, officials will begin testing them.

Barton said there will be two sirens, one on top of the village hall and the other in Fireman’s Park on Beck Street.

The sirens were obtained through a charitable donation from the William Gundry Broughton Charitable Private Foundation.