Southside Rebuilds After Flood
9/7/2012 (Updated 9/9/2012 3:30:06 PM)BINGHAMTON -- Route 434 and South Washington Street sees thousands of cars pass through daily, making it an ideal location for the Southside business district. But one year ago, as the flood waters rose, local business owners initially didn't think it would be that bad.
"We just figured maybe we would get our feet wet perhaps, because in 2006, it never exceeded the threshold of our doorway," said Mike Haas, owner of Haas Landscape Architects
"We could see the water come over the flood wall at the end of Washington Street, but never dreamt that it would come this high," said Jim McCoy, owner of Number 5 Restaurant. "[We] had never been flooded before, it was kind of a shock."
"I cried, it was awful," said Cathi Furner, owner of Southbridge Wines and Spirits.
But the river would rise seven feet over night, and not crest until mid-afternoon.
"That's a foot an hour, and here it is 7:00 in the morning, yea that water's coming over the flood wall," Haas said.
"When the water crested over 434 I thought 'we're going to lose it,'" said Furner
"Maybe an hour later I went to the back step and the water was already at the step," McCoy said. "It came up really really fast and I just screamed to everybody 'get out!'"
But even before the flood waters had claimed the neighborhood, members of the community were already helping.
"A local electrical contractor had come by and he had a pick up truck he stuck his head in the door and said 'I got a pick up do you need a hand with anything,' I said 'sure!'" Haas said.
And after the flood had receded there were many questions, the biggest? what now?
"You have this doubt for the first 2, 3, 4 weeks am I going to be able to reopen," McCoy said. "Everyone went through the same thing."
But with the help of friends, family, employees, customers, and even strangers many businesses on the Southside were able to bounce back.
"That's the beauty of being in a business district and knowing your neighbors," Haas said.
"There was a lot of camaraderie," McCoy said. "Everyone was in it together, and everyone tried to help each other."
"The Southside, everyone pitched in, everyone helped," said Furner. "It's a blessing."
Even a year later there are still buildings left vacant and both Haas and Furner question what the government has done to help prevent another flood. Which begs the question: "what if it does happens again?"
"If it happened again..... I don't know," McCoy said
"If we get hit again, yea, I think that would put us over the top," said Haas.
"Oh, it'll happen again," Furner said. "I hope not for a long time, but it'll happen again."
"I hate to be negative about it, I'm going to be optimistic," McCoy said. "If it floods, it floods. that's showbiz. we got through it once."
In Binghamton, Jeremy Donovan, Fox 40 News
blog comments powered by Disqus