Niagara County businesses continue dealing with aftermath of flooding, seek financial assistance

Niagara County

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — After flooding this week, Niagara County businesses are on edge with the chance for more rain in the forecast Saturday night.

Businesses along Canal and Main Street dealt with a lot of flooding earlier this week, some more than others and a few businesses even had to close down for a day or two.

“We shut down. We lost a day of business, he had about 12 inches in our basement. We lost some things, paper goods and things like that,” said Jonathan Brose who owns Steamworks Coffee in Lockport.

It’s been a hectic and stressful week for Brose, whose business was one of the places damaged in last week’s rainstorm.

“Difficult Tuesday for sure just the mental part of it and then after that the realization of the work that’s involved kind of sets in and you realize you got a lot of work ahead of you to clean up,” he said.

Businesses like Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport are hoping they won’t have to experience any of that again. During Tuesday’s storm, a large amount of water filled in around the ice cream shop.

Owner Erik Bernardi says it was thanks to the quick thinking of his employees getting the water out that prevented any serious damage to the place.

He says he feels for the businesses in this area that are still dealing with the aftermath of all that rain, including the financial burdens.

“It was an eye-opening experience that is something that we really need to keep in mind as crazy as it was it makes for a great story but not anything that we want to live again. It was extraordinarily stressful,” Bernardi said.

Niagara County has launched an app called “Prepare Niagara.” this was set up as a way for businesses and residents to report any flood damage, view power outages and create a plan for emergencies.

“It’s been amazing actually, it’s been great to see the amount of people, we’ve got hundreds and hundreds of pictures, information, data collected for us for moving forward with this,” Niagara County Emergency Services Director Jon Schultz said. “The more data we can get the better we can be for us to try to move forward trying to get that state and federal declaration disaster so we can get some funding either at the state or federal level to help our residents and businesses to recover from this.”

Local lawmakers, including State Senator Rob Ortt, are pushing for state funding to help businesses and residents.

“What we’re trying to say is look, if there is funding, emergency management funding, that is available, funding that we set aside, funding that can be laid aside, to assist communities when there are acts of God, acts of nature, we want to make sure that funding, in the town of Lockport. Niagara county, Niagara Falls, farmers, will be eligible for that funding,” Ortt said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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