River Floods Downtown Businesses, City Applies for FEMA Grant

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

WAYNESBORO, Va --- John Denton has run a jewelry store on Main St since the late 1970s. Since then he has been just a few blocks from South River, he gets the worst of the flooding.

"In my opinion, that river down there, is both an asset and a curse to Waynesboro," said Denton.

Despite the beauty of the river, Denton said it is not so pretty when it gets in his store.

"Oh it's disgusting. It's horrible. It smells. It's slimy. It's nasty."

A few times during the summer, and rainy days like Tuesday, Denton felt worried. He blocked his front and back door and lifted everything up off the ground.

"There have been a lot of false alarms where you put everything up and have to take it all down, but that's all you can do. Barricade the doors and pray."

The last major flood Denton dealt with was back in 2003 when Hurricane Irene impacted the area.

"In the back it is a little bit lower, and I actually saw a dumpster floating in the back parking lot."

Denton has been lucky enough to have friends and family to help him get things cleaned up the half dozen times his store been damaged by flood waters.

"After a week or so, you're back in business. But about two months later the smell is gone."

Waynesboro is looking into help from FEMA to deal with the flooding. They want to make sure businesses feel protected to keep them in the area.

Waynesboro Director of Planning Michael Barnes hopes business owners get in touch with him to describe damages they have seen over the years. He wants the information by Friday to include in the FEMA grant proposal. You can email him at: BarnesMD@ci.waynesboro.va.us or call the planning department at 540) 942-6604

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