Businesses vow to stay open amid rising water levels

May 15, 2019 11:31 PM

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Businesses along the lake are scrambling to be better prepared for high water levels all while promising they'll stay open.

Water levels on Lake Ontario are getting closer to the highs they saw in the disastrous 2017 flooding. 


"It's about that far from the top right now," declared Joe Hoock, manager of the Bay Side Pub in Webster as he held up his fingers.

Business owners are anxious but they are vowing to stay open as they approach the Memorial Day start to the summer season, frequently the period on which their businesses depend.

"We'll just make the best of what we have," he said. "There's nothing you can do about it. So we'll just make the best. We are a family down here. We're just going to make it work."

The pub's dock was already underwater Wednesday with sandbags piled on it just to keep it from washing away and its lawn, normally full of picnic tables where bands normally play music, was submerged.

"We're going to lose our bands," Hoock sighed. "We lose our overflow seating. We lose all our boat traffic. It's not a good situation."

The fuel dock at Webster's Myers Marina was under two feet of water by Wednesday, but the marina's boat docks float, allowing normal access to boats. Besides the robust crop of sandbags, co-owner Allison Mayer created walkways out of wooden pallets for boat owners to get around, a trick she learned during the 2017 lake flooding.

She also discovered a community eager to assist.

"We've had a lot of friends, customers, who've offered to help us. We've had people come and help us with the cinder blocks and the pallets and the sandbags and it's a really good feeling."

The pumps were also running at Silk O'Loughlin's in Irondequoit which was devastated and shut down for months by the 2017 floods.  

Storm drains that normally drained into the Genesee River were instead bringing water up into the restaurant's parking lot, creating multiple little lakes.

Owner Mike McKeon said his customers have also been offering to help even as they have to wade through the rising water right outside his front door. 

"If it goes up another six inches, we're going to be more pumps working, more pipes," he exclaimed. "That's the other thing, trying to do business when you got cords and pipes and everything going around."

McKeon pointed to sandbags which almost completely encircled the restaurant, as well as plywood on the deck to ward off waves in case winds brought a new onslaught up the river from the lake.

"You always feel like every day you have to try to do something different," he said. "Just to fight, to say ' All right, I did everything I could.'


Charles Molineaux

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