OSSINING, N.Y. – Assembly member Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) had to shake her head as she walked through Ossining’s Boat House Restaurant on Friday afternoon and saw the hollowed-out business in the middle of major renovations after Hurricane Sandy flooded the waterfront.
Galef and state Sen. David Carlucci toured the Ossining waterfront Friday afternoon to survey the damage at several local businesses that was caused when Hurricane Sandy swept through the area. The pair met with waterfront business owners and local government officials to find out the severity of the damage and ask what they could do to help the businesses recover.
Sandy caused several feet of flooding to the Ossining Boat House Restaurant, Shattemuc Yacht Club and Westerly Marina and damaged docks along the waterfront when it swept through the area in November.
“We went through getting power on and now we’re looking at all of this recovery that needs to take place,” Galef said Friday. “Today we’ve (seen) several examples of people who really need some help and restoration. These are restaurants and businesses that I dearly love and you would never recognize it.”
Carlucci echoed Galef’s sentiments and added that legislators and the governor are committed to pass legislation to provide funding to businesses and homeowners affected during Sandy.
“It’s important that we do everything possible to make sure businesses are open and running,” Carlucci said. “Every day they go keeping their doors closed is another day closer to foreclosure or bankruptcy, and that’s exactly what we’ve got to work to prevent.”
Sandy caused minor damage to a few businesses inland, but the loss of power was the most devastating concern for the local economy, said Ossining Mayor William Hanauer. Hanauer later told Carlucci and Galef that the idea of a “50- or 100-year storm” is a thing of the past and residents could expect more frequent storms in the future. Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly agreed.
“This is the new reality and we need to adapt to it,” Donnelly said.
Tom Earle, commodore of the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club, said he is encouraged that Galef and Carlucci made the visit Friday.
“I think it’s wonderful to have them here showing their concern,” Earle said. “I think there is certainly climate change going on and I think we need to plan for it. I know at my club we’re talking about moving our electrical service panels because they were submerged. [The water] was higher than we’ve ever seen before and we took steps to prepare but we need to do more.”
Pat Yost, treasurer of the Shattemuc Yacht Club, said many boats at Shattemuc, Westerly and the Boat and Canoe Club were removed from the water prior to the storm, but agreed further steps will be needed in the future after both Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene in 2011.
“We love the water and sharing it with our family and friends, and when we were all up on the bridge watching the water come in it was very disheartening to know that we were seeing it all happen for a second time,” Yost said. “I think it crystallizes the need for the rest of us to think what we can do long term to make sure we have this here for our kids.”