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Joshua Thomas
Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk speaks with Geesler's Owner John Grimm (left) and Old Hotel Fort Plain Property Owner Paul Hage (center).

Joshua Thomas
Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk speaks in Haslett Park last Thursday afternoon.

Joshua Thomas
Mayor Barton (left) thanks National Grid for their swift and continued response following the flood. Also shown is National Grid Regional Representative Tom Wind.

Joshua Thomas
Back row, from left, Old Hotel Fort Plain Owner Paul Hage, Geesler's Owner John Grimm, The Table at Fort Plain Vice President Jim Katovitch, Geesler's Owner Stephen Grimm, and Save-A-Lot Owner John Hart. Front row, from left, National Grid Regional Representative Tom Wind, Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton, Owen D. Young School Board President Linda Tharp, and Flood Recovery Grant Program Chairman Joe Russo.


National Grid hands out $476,000 in flood recovery funding

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - Updated: 9:51 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- Last Thursday afternoon, National Grid announced the recipients of $476,000 in grant funding aimed at assisting business and commercial property owners with flood recovery from Fort Plain to VanHornesville.

16 properties and business/property owners received grant funding from National Grid (in amounts ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 depending on need), who made the announcement before Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton, Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Owen D. Young School Board of Education President Linda Tharp and business and commercial property owners, who all expressed gratitude to National Grid.

Paul Hage, owner of the Old Hotel Fort Plain property, operational in the village since 1926, said "National Grid came forward and filled a niche," for the "landlords caught in between," explaining that FEMA and New York State only offered funding to owner-occupied properties.

John Grimm, who owns Geesler's with his brother, Stephen Grimm, and his son, said of his business -- the oldest established business in Fort Plain under continuous family operation -- "We really got devastated. Water was coming in the front door." When National Grid offered help, Grimm was initially skeptical, because after the 2006 flood, his business received no funding. Of National Grid, he said, "they're the only ones that came through for business owners and I can't say enough about them."

"It made a hell of a dent," said John of the funding, with Stephen noting that the money replaced furnaces, hot water heaters and electrical service, which had to be moved from the cellar to the outside of the building.

John Hart, owner of Save-A-Lot, having suffered $600,000-$700,000 in damages, said his store came back better than ever with help from National Grid. "When a small, independent operator is trying to recover from something as devastating as a flood like that, you're searching for any money you can get," he said, explaining that contractors must be paid in a timely fashion, which is sometimes nearly impossible when dealing with the state or taking out bank loans.

"It was a big help," said Hart of the National Grid-issued funding.

Tkaczyk commented, "I was here right after the flood happened and it was just devastating to this little village. So many people worked so hard to get it cleaned up and it's great to be back here and see things coming along."

She called National Grid, "accessible and responsive," following the flood, stating, "they were here on day one really helping homeowners and businesses get connected."

"This type of ongoing support is really helpful and necessary and I know greatly appreciated by the residents of the Fort Plain," of whom Tkaczyk stated, "the people who live here are so incredibly resilient, and that drives me. When I see them working hard, I need to work hard too to help them to get back to where they need to be."

"I think the people here in Fort Plain have really showed what it means to be a community and to help each other," she said.

Barton thanked National Grid for everything they've done for the village, not only during the June 28, 2013 flood, but also during the June 28, 2006 event, during which time, he joked, National Grid Regional Representative Tom Wind "lived at the fire station."

"It's people like him that makes my job easy -- well, maybe not 'easy', but makes it so that there is help when we need it," Barton said.

On Tuesday evening. the Fort Plain Village Board approved a motion to allow 2013 tax rolls to be used to provide flood victims with a ten percent tax reduction. Those qualifying for the tax credit must apply with Town of Minden Assessor Robert Harris by June 30.

Joshua Thomas - Old Fort Plain Plaza Owner John Hart speaks in Haslett Park last Thursday.


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