We began the spring season with hopes of warmer weather, new business moving into town and a general desire for a return to better times with new feelings of optimism.
That has changed for many town of Plattsburgh and Champlain Basin residents and property owners. Almost overnight and without warning Lake Champlain waters began rising to historic levels, bringing many to their knees with feelings of despair and discouragement.
The past few days I have been working with agencies and emergency services to help monitor the developing situation and manage the town's infrastructure. We have also provided assistance where possible but the town cannot reverse the damage that has been done. Until the lake returns to a level below flood stage the crisis will continue. There may be some assistance from FEMA, but that will not cover the loss many have experienced.
Our highway department worked diligently to repair the Cumberland Head Road preventing total erosion of the pavement. The Water Wastewater Department has been manning our pump and lift stations in an effort to maintain the flow of wastewater and stormwater runoff. We also acknowledge the efforts by the city public works department and their challenge to keep the treatment plant operating.
Cleanup will not be easy and new unknown problems will surface. The cost to property owners, business and municipalities will be significant. It will take a long time for many to recover from this event. But, recover we must and during that process we will must remember that our things can be replaced and we will thank God that no lives were lost.
We will continue to work hard, make economic progress and seize the opportunities that come our way. The recent events will be a learning experience and we will become stronger as a result of the experience. During the coming months, it will be important for families and friends to help each other work through this period. It will take time but this too shall pass and we will be stronger as a result.
For updates, information and to learn about available resources please go to the County website at www.clintoncountygov.com.
Bernie Bassett is supervisor of the town of Plattsburgh.