MARGARETVILLE, Oct. 3, 2011 – Repair options and their estimated costs were delivered September 30 to the owners of five buildings in a Margaretville business block heavily damaged by flooding August 28.
The Margaretville Village Board and representatives of other local and regional agencies were also present at the meeting in the Village Office when Jodie Barker, an engineer with Lamont Engineers, explained three options which now must be mulled by the owners of 798-836 Main Street (known locally as the Cheese Barrel block):
The figures, Barker noted, are just “opinions of cost” based on estimates provided by contractors. They include engineering costs but not the costs of restoring interiors, including plumbing, electrical service, windows, doors and sheet rock that can be expected to shift when the buildings are stabilized and straightened.
“Our opinion is necessarily cautious,” said Barker. “This estimate does not constitute a prescription or a plan. A detailed plan is needed for a contractor to follow.”
If damage to the structures is calculated at 51% or greater (their value the day before the flood compared to the cost to repair them), they will also have to be “flood proofed” – raised 2 to 3 feet above the street – according to floodplain regulations adopted by the Village to enable its residents and businesses to purchase flood insurance.
Owners Sue Ihlo, Robin Tischmacher, Juergen and Lore Mahler, Mary Lou Pratt and Florence Barra (of BP Visions and CSA Properties) and Peter Molnar are expected to meet soon to determine how they will proceed; none appeared to favor demolition. Representatives of the MARK Project, Assemblyman Clifford Crouch’s office, and the Delaware County Planning Department offered their services in seeking out potential funds to assist in the redevelopment of the block, which could take six months to a year. Owners are also expected to file applications for flood recovery grants from the Catskill Watershed Corp.
Town and Village Code Enforcement Officer Pat Davis reminded the owners that they were issued notices giving them six months to submit a plan and seek a permit to repair their buildings to habitable condition. They would have 12 months after that in which to complete the project, but “we’ll work with you on this.”
The consensus in the room was that unity among the property owners would be key to restoring this block of retail and residential structures in the heart of the Margaretville business district.
Meanwhile, village officials are trying to arrange a meeting with the NYS DOT to repair and reopen Bridge Street, and to determine whether the affected block is still vulnerable to traffic vibrations on Main Street. If not, Main Street, which has been closed since August 29, may also be reopened.