Several businesses in the Stahl Plaza on Mountainview Boulevard have been closed since Hurricane Irene caused the worst flooding in the area since 1984. For some business owners it was the first, and last time, time they were flooded.
President Barack Obama has . Obama after Irene. But business owners aren’t very optimistic that much can be done to alleviate the problem.
“How do you stop water,” asked Sandy Roberto, owner of . “A study may help, but they need to figure out what’s causing all of this flooding in the first place and, depending on what it is, there might not be a solution.”
Although her place was only closed for about a month following Irene, Morano still isn’t finished completing repairs. Other businesses in the Plaza, including and are still closed. , located across the street, was .
“They’re all going to reopen,” said John Morano, superintendent of the plaza. “But they’ve got to wait until the repairs get done and that’s still going to take some time, but little by little we’re getting there.”
Kenny Leech, owner of Kenny’s Pit Stop said that flooding was so severe and the building was in such bad shape, he had no choice but to move. Leech was at the location for a year. He said there were 15 inches of water in the restaurant after Irene.
“I didn’t have flood insurance and my regular insurance wouldn’t pay for the repairs,” said Leech, who moved the business to Newark Pompton Turnpike in Pequannock. It opened last week. “I might have had to wait a year or more to open up over there. I can’t wait that long. I’ve got to make a living.”
Leech and Morano did not receive any aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the damage Irene caused.
FEMA is in the process of buying out several homes in town. Wayne will receive . The homes are located mostly in the 1st Ward, where the Stahl Plaza is located. Dozens of homes in the Hoffman Grove section of town . Wayne has also received $24 million to purchase 70 homes in the Old Wayne section of town.
Leech said that, unfortunately, businesses are often shut out of aid, which can’t continue.
“Study, study, study. That’s all they ever talk about are studies. Someone needs to just do something about the flooding and stop with the studies already, even if it is 100 percent wrong,” Leech said. “They can’t continue to not help businesses out. We’re just as important as anyone else.”