Deadline nears to apply for state flood grant aid
ALBANY — Farms and businesses from the Adirondacks to the Catskills that were pounded by tropical storms late last summer are now eligible for state grants of up to $20,000 as communities continue trying to recovery.
The state Empire State Development Corp. is urging farmers and business operators to apply by Friday’s deadline for the $21 million Business Flood Recovery Grant Program.
The grant money was announced in January, but the Cuomo administration is making a last-minute push to sign up more than the 300 business that have so far applied. Hundreds more could be eligible. The grant program is in addition to federal and state disaster grants and loans and the state program is designed to cover business costs not covered by the other government programs. The typical grant and the number of recipients won’t be available until after Friday’s deadline to apply.
Tropical storms Irene and Lee in late summer threw barns, silos and small businesses off their foundations, flooded basements for weeks and forced the gutting of longtime, thriving stores because of water damage and mold.
Most business — already limping through the recession in the hard-hit areas of the Mohawk Valley and isolated Catskills — were without power for weeks and out of action for more than a month, stopping cash flow while debts accumulated for cleaning and repairs.
“We are pulling out all the stops to help those affected by the floods start over,” said Kenneth Adams, CEO of the Cuomo administration’s economic development agency. “We urge those eligible to contact ESD for additional information and to apply for these available resources designated to help our communities get back to business.”
The mountain town of Prattsville is just beginning its rebuilding process and recently received 14 temporary FEMA trailers for residents to live in. The small town, at the base of steep mountains and powerful creeks, was hit hard by the Aug. 28 flooding, resulting in the demolition or massive rebuilding of most of its downtown homes and businesses.
WKTV in Utica reported that substantial work remains six months after Irene’s floods slammed through the picturesque village of Schoharie in the Mohawk Valley.
“We picked up the debris, but we still have to pick up the pieces and put their lives together,” Mayor John Borst told WKTV. In Schoharie alone, 275 homes were flooded, 16 were leveled and more are planned.
Businesses and farmers can apply for the state grants at www.esd.ny.gov/BusinessPrograms/FloodRecovery.html. They can also call (518) 292-5340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Continued...
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