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Penn Yan waiting for help from FEMA

Updated: Saturday, June 14 2014, 10:34 AM EDT

Penn Yan, N.Y. - A long, expensive road to recovery, estimates to repair and rebuild areas devastated by two back-to-back floods continues to grow—but that could actually be a good thing.

About a month after severe flooding, Congressman Tom Reed announced Thursday that the area reached the minimum requirement, $26.9 million in damage, to receive federal aid.

Now it’s up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to submit a formal FEMA request to the White House, then President Obama will meet with officials to determine if the assistance is warranted.

Penn Yan Mayor Leigh MacKerchar spoke with Governor Cuomo's office Friday, but said he is still waiting for official word on damage estimates collected by the state—a county and town breakdown has not been issued just current estimates for infrastructure in the village are at about $2.5 million and still growing.

According to the Keuka Housing Council, the most recent damage estimates to homes and businesses is close to $10 million and that number is also on the rise.

Owner of The Wagner Restaurant in Penn Yan, John Pollar said, “I understand that the infrastructure gets first dibs on whatever money there is and then whatever is left over…”

Pollar said the community needs that federal aid.

His business and his home destroyed by the flood, Pollar has at least $200,000 in damages and no income.

“Just borrow the money and hope I can pay it make—spending it, hope I can pay it off,” Pollar said.

Shut down for more than a month to make those repairs, Wagner is set to reopen on Saturday.

“We’ve been working for 34 days, so it’s been a long time out.” Pollar said, “I needed to open as quick as possible five weeks is a long time to be down.”

He hopes business at the restaurant will help buy him some time, but Pollar said it will be difficult to get out of debt—It’s a situation many home and business owners are now in as they try to rebuild without aid.

Pollar did get assistance from the state—$25,000 for his business but that money still hasn’t come in.

Victims of the flood said the possibility of financial aid is encouraging, but Pollar said it doesn’t put an end to his struggles.

“Even if I do get some money, I don’t expect it very quickly at all,” Pollar said.

Local officials said they have no word on when they will hear about FEMA or when they could receive aid.

Penn Yan waiting for help from FEMA


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