One month later, frustrations but progress as Oneida recovers

Oneida Resident Peter Barbano shows how high the flood water was, on his house last month. He's moving back in, on the second floor. His landlord is among many waiting for state aid

It's been one month since flood waters hit the Flats, a neighborhood off Lenox Avenue on Oneida's east side, and there are signs of progress and frustration.

On Monday, street signs were being replaced and home mail delivery is resuming. Most of the homes are still empty and gutted of flood damage but awaiting state money to do major repairs and replace appliances and more lost in the high water. The smell of mold is everywhere.

Even though many residents signed up for state aid last week, they're still waiting for inspections and the money with word that it could be a month at the earliest before they see the money.

Robin Roache and Peter Barbano were both hoping to move back into their Kennedy Street homes on Monday, but both are in upper floor apartments and both were waiting for codes inspectors when we visited. Roache says she had damp furniture and lost some possessions.

Barbano and his son got out of their first floor flat with the clothes on their back and their two dogs. Barbano was especially frustrated after he and his landlord gutted that first floor with no state help, and even had to pay National Grid to install new electric meters.

For businesses, there have been major expenses with no moneys coming in while flood damages are repaired. Christophers Pizzeria and Ice Cream Parlor, on Lenox Avenue, hopes to reopen at least partially on Tuesday. "80% of our business is takeout," says owner Chris Essig. The dining room re-do will have to wait. There's been no income since the flood, and he says he could 'paper a wall' with receipts from Lowes.

Essig did get an inspection after signing up for flood relief last week but will have to file more paperwork, including all the repair receipts. "My focus is just to get reopened at this point in time," he said." If we can get some aid, great. I'm out a lot of money. It would be extremely helpful."

At the Oneida Service Center, also on Lenox Avenue, they re-opened for limited car service a couple weeks ago, but there's a lot more repair work to be done. "As we get back to making money, then we'll start tearin' walls down," owner Chad Ward told us. He's sure the insulation in his outer walls is wet and will have to come out before winter.

Even though its been a struggle, the two businesses are planning grand re-opening parties and community celebrations. At Christopher's they're thinking about incorporating fundraiser games with the proceeds going to neighbors still in need.

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