Boiceville businesses aim to be better prepared for future flooding

(Photo by Alan Carey)

(Photo by Alan Carey)

Look for a caravan of vehicles headed down to the SUNY Ulster campus from Boiceville Tuesday, February 26. That’s when the next meeting of the New York Rising Community Planning Committee meeting takes place in the community college’s Student Lounge at 6:30 p.m., and Ulster County municipal leaders start jockeying to prioritize projects for $3 million funding per town.

The Boiceville contingent’s looking to avoid any repeat of the flooding disaster that rushed through the Route 28 community a year and a half ago when Tropical Storm Irene forced the Esopus Creek up over its banks and down into the business community for the second time in memory. At the time, that meant deep waters in the Boiceville Market, the newly renovated and opened Maverick Family Health clinic, a pharmacy and wine store, Stucki’s Embroidery, the Landmark Restaurant, Boiceville Florists, the Trail Motel, and the Ronson Piano Hammer factory, among other properties.

“What concerns me is that some of those businesses, and they won’t want to admit to this, ended up having to take out mortgages to reopen,” said Olive supervisor Sylvia Rozzelle. “Now I’m hearing that flood insurance costs are going up a lot — to around $9,500 for the first $250,000 if I remember correctly — so we at the town level want to do all we can to help the situation. Places like the Log Cabin got hit bad, and the Landmark…some say they should just up and move but there are real human emotions tied to all this, and real people living and working in these areas where the insurance people are looking to start raising the rates.”


In the community people expressed concern about future flooding…but also a shared sense of pride at having made it back as well as they have.

“I’ve been part of the New York Rising effort. We’re discussing what to do with the road and the creek, putting ideas forward, so we can avoid this situation next time,” said Mario Occhi of Boiceville Market, which sustained major flood damage in August, 2012. “Then, we moved ahead and with the help of our insurance and a lot of hard work on the community’s part, were able to be open again within six weeks. With the weather changing we just want to do all we can to avoid these things in the future.”

Ray Negron, whose been running the Ronson Piano Hammer factory close by the creek near the market since the early 1980s, and working in the same space his father renovated in 1971, said things have been fine since he got in and cleaned the detritus from seven inches of water two and a half years back.

“It took a while to get the mold out and we didn’t call on our insurance or take out any mortgages; it was hard work,” he said. “I had everything up off the floor beforehand so it only ended up costing us several hundred dollars…I have no ideas what the future holds and no time to worry about such things. But the pace feels like home to me.”