Photo: National Grid crews are still out in Fort Plain as they work to repair or replace meters on homes in the area. (NEWS CENTER)
FORT PLAIN, N.Y. -- National Grid crews are still out in Fort Plain as they work to repair or replace meters on homes in the area.
Like much of the infrastructure in this community, many meters were damaged when the nearby creek flooded its banks, covering everything it touched in a thick brown muck.
Residents have spent the last week and a half cleaning up and they've made progress. Wednesday is the last day the state and federal government will be picking up debris curbside. National Grid crews tell the NEWS CENTER nearly half of the residents that live here have had their power restored. Thomas Wind with National Grid says the other half will be more challenging.
"There is still a lot of work to be done and the majority of that work is with our customers. Right now we've restored as many people as we can, both electric and gas. Right now it's sort of a waiting period, we're waiting for our customers to have inspections done, to call us and basically they have to go out and obtain new electric and gas equipment before their service can be turned back on," said Wind.
And the American Red Cross is beginning to wind down its flood
relief feeding operations, and its site at the Senior Center on Canal Street in
Fort Plain is scheduled to close July 11, at 6:30 p.m.
Cross volunteers will remain in the area to reach out to individuals still
needing services, and will have cleaning supplies, snacks and water available.
If severe weather or flooding returns overnight, Red Cross staffers could
postpone the closure.
Cathy Burt tried to hold back the tears as she told NEWS CENTER about the property on Main Street her family has owned since 1927, a hotel and several storefronts that were damaged by flood waters. Burt no longer lives in the village, but said she came back last week to help.
"It's just what has to be done. What do you do for your family? What do you do for your hometown that you grew up in? You do what you can," she said.
Burt said she doubts the couple that rents the storefront selling odds and ends will reopen. Mayor Guy Barton calls it disappointing, telling NEWS CENTER about half the businesses in Fort Plain have said they won't rebuild -- they just can't afford to.
"They were doing a good mom and pop business, but when you get this disaster and it takes everything, all the inventory, everything, they just don't have the money to come back," he said.
Barton says he's spoken with all of them, vowing to help them find grants. He has also been in constant communication with the governor's office, but said what's really needed is that federal aid.
"We are devastated, the creeks, the bridges. All they have to do is come and take a look," he said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's office tells the NEWS CENTER they're continuing to work with FEMA, the state, and county while remaining optimistic federal aid will come through. Before a federal Disaster Declaration is given, FEMA needs an estimate of costs, which takes time.
A meeting will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Methodist church in Fort Plain, for residents and business owners to address concerns and needs moving forward.
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