Home and business owners in Lodi still trying to clean up and rebuild after flood

September 13, 2018 06:56 AM

Nine inches of rain fell over 24 hours in the Town of Lodi, Seneca County back in August.

The rushing water tore down thousands of trees, washed mobile homes into Seneca Lake and forced several water rescues.

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Thankfully, no one was injured or killed but there are likely millions of dollars in damage. Homes, cottages, camps, and small businesses were destroyed.

Nearly one month later, those who live in the impacted area are still frustrated. Many people tell News10NBC they need more help than they’re receiving from the state.  

The water was still rushing when News10NBC met William Shangraw nearly a month ago.

Thirty-five mobile homes in Sunset on Seneca, the mobile home park he owns, had just been washed away and his life, as he knew it, changed forever.

On Wednesday, News10NBC was told, though the water may be gone, the headache is stronger than ever.

“I kind of thought that we would get more help that would make it look better faster. I kind of assumed the piles and debris would go away a lot faster,” Shangraw says.

He thought that, he says, because the morning of the flood, Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Lodi touring the damage and promising help.

“There's a lot of publicity that's made for those things for politicians. I think that they come in and do their photo shoots and then leave. When I originally watched those incidents on the news, I thought that it was sustained help and come to find out, I think it's more of, come in and get our picture taken and leave, that's my feeling now,” he says.

When Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Rochester this week for a campaign event, News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke had a brief chance to ask him about this.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke: "Governor, a lot of the folks in Lodi say that state resources are drying up before the damage has been cleaned up."

Governor Cuomo: "I have not heard that at all.  And the state will do whatever it has to do. I was there myself that morning and until the job is done, the state will be there."

After that exchange, a spokeswoman for the governor sent News10NBC an email detailing the ongoing operations in Lodi which she says include: three DOT supervisors, 14 operators, nine trucks, one gradall, and one vac truck still working in the area along with DOT emergency contractors who are equipped with seven trucks, one loader, one backhoe, six excavators, two dozers, two skid steers, and two barges and two tugs.

The state claims hundreds of yards of debris are being removed from the area daily and the command post is still active.  

The state also says it’s working to “restore Mill Creek, taking steps to reduce potential damage in the event of future high water events. DEC and DOT are actively engaging with private property owners and continue to discuss with owners on both sides of the stream whether alternatives exist to achieve the desired protection with minimal impact to private property.”

Shangraw says that work on the creek has taken away many of his sites for good and he says, DEC is forcing him to comply with new code regulations that may end up being too costly.

“We've got engineers working on plans and assessing what the cost is going to be to see if it's even feasible to rebuild or not,” he tells News10NBC.

It’s not just Shangraw with complaints. 

News10NBC has talked with a number of home and cottage owners along Lower Lake Road who are worried about what will happen from here.

The area is not in a flood zone so most did not have flood insurance. Traditional homeowner insurance plans do not cover this type of damage and so far, no financial assistance is being offered to help them rebuild. 

A federal disaster declaration must be made within 30 days for FEMA benefits to kick-in which may provide homeowners with low or no-cost loans, but the state only has two days left to make that federal request.

The governor’s office tells News10NBC they’re still working to see if the area meets the threshold. 


Jennifer Lewke

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