Parade celebrates town’s rebirth

MIDDLEBURGH MARKS ITS 300TH ANNIVERSARY A YEAR AFTER DEVASTATING FLOOD
By Tim O’Brien
PUBLISHED 8:50 PM, SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 2012
source of article: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Parade-celebrates-town-s-rebirth-3763197.php

MIDDLEBURGH — Despite its age and all it has been through, this Schoharie County town shined Saturday as it celebrated a3the 300th anniversary of its settlement.

Almost a year after Tropical Storm Irene flooded parts of town on Aug. 28, 2011, leaving its only supermarket still shuttered, the resilient community gathered to celebrate its heritage and the small-town closeness that helps weather any storm.

As they watched the parade that served as the centerpiece of a three-day celebration, residents Nora and Ed Masterson said it was important to take time to cherish what the community has to offer.

“It means we’ve survived, and we’re doing well,” said Nora, a native of Ireland. “Middleburgh is a beautiful little town.”

The Lyon family all donned T-shirts they had made for a family reunion that celebrated the tricentennial. They chose the school colors of green and white.

David Lyon pointed to the house behind him, noting that he and four siblings were raised there. He still lives in the town, though the house where they were raised is no longer in the family. His home did not sustain damage, but he is proud of his neighbors.

“They had a beautiful town before, and they managed to bring it back from some really brutal flooding,” he said. “It’s definitely a small town. People know each other and help each other.”

The parade went past the Artisans Gallery at 322 Main St. Last year, 5 feet of water flooded the cooperative, said Judi Beeler, a participating artist. But the gallery is back and bigger than ever.

“We lost everything that was in here,” Beeler said. But she said they were fortunate because the walls were brick underneath the wainscoting. By late fall, the gallery reopened and now occupies twice the space as before.

She stopped talking to run outside to watch as a float with a replica of the Blenheim Bridge made its way down the street. The historic wood bridge, built in 1855, was destroyed in the storm.

Building the replica was the idea of Carver Laraway, owner of Carver Sand and Gravel, and the work was done by employeesMike Kossow, Chris O’Malley and Jane Mattice. Plant manager Dan Simeon acquired the materials. Mark Camp Sr. polished the truck that carried it until it shone.

Operations manager David Wood said the company worked seven days a week last year to restore local roads, and it donated material and labor to affected homeowners. At Halloween, Laraway provided two trucks to distribute candy when homes were too damaged for trick-or-treaters to visit.

Laraway decided that re-creating the bridge for a float would be a fitting tribute to the town.

“He wanted to just show the community he was sensitive to what happened last year, and he wanted to give something back,” Wood said.

So far, the federal government has declined to pay for rebuilding the bridge itself, said Town Supervisor Jim Buzon.

His town is recovering well and was not hit as hard as neighboring Schoharie, Buzon said. Its Grand Union supermarket, the only market in town, had 10 feet of water inside and has never reopened. His top goal is to attract a new one.

Legacy Bank, which also closed its branch after flooding, has sold to a new bank he expects to open soon.

Several volunteer groups are still helping people affected by the storm, he said.

“People in this area are just so resilient,” he said. “Many have lived in this area for generations. It’s their home.”

Joy Jensen’s four children marched in the parade with their Cub and Girl Scout troops, then watched when they were done. While she lives in nearby Fultonham, her children Ian, 10, Ashton, 8, Megan, 7, and Caelyn, 5, attend Middleburgh Elementary School.

While their home was not flooded, she has friends whose houses were inundated.

“There is still recovery going on,” she said. “The emotional recovery is the hardest, but it’s good to see the support of the community. That helps.”

MIDDLEBURGH MARKS ITS 300TH ANNIVERSARY A YEAR AFTER DEVASTATING FLOOD
By Tim O’Brien
PUBLISHED 8:50 PM, SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 2012
source of article: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Parade-celebrates-town-s-rebirth-3763197.php

 

 

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