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Flood-stricken Bridgeville neighborhoods continue to rebuild | TribLIVE.com
Carnegie/Bridgeville

Flood-stricken Bridgeville neighborhoods continue to rebuild

Tribune-Review
| Saturday, December 15, 2018 1:33 a.m
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Teresa Davis sits for a photo with dogs Hobbit (left) and Wicklow at her dog day care, groomer and kennel, Mutt Manor, in Findlay on Wednesday, Dec. 5., 2018 Davis’ other location, The Canine Club in Bridgeville, still is undergoing construction after flooding in June that destroyed the business and took the lives of five dogs. She hopes that Canine Club will be back open by Jan. 1.
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A home sits for sale along Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. After the June 20 flood, the Signal Item talked to homeowner Frank Truzzi who said he was home when the flooding started. He had to grab his dog, Zipit, and move to higher ground. Truzzi said he lived in the home for 11 years and had flood insurance.
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A “Baldwin Street Strong” sign hangs outside of the Owls Club on Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Six months ago, flooding from a storm devastated parts of the town. Baldwin Street was one of the worst hit.
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Bags of garbage and carpet rest on the sidewalk outside of a Baldwin Street home Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 that was condemned eight days after flooding from a June storm devastated areas of Bridgeville around McLaughlin Run. Baldwin Street was one of the worst hit areas.
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In the six months since flooding devastated the area around Baldwin Street in Bridgeville, a new wall has been placed along McLaughlin Run as viewed from Bower Hill Road on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.

It’s been exactly six months since McLaughlin Run, engorged by a summer downpour, spilled over onto several Bridgeville streets; damaging dozens of residential and commercial properties and killing one person. The process of rebuilding has for some been a long one, the end of which may only just now be in sight.

It’s difficult to say how many residents were affected by the flood; not all of the 100-plus residences that Borough Manager Lori Collins estimated were damaged are single-family dwellings. A relief fund established by the Borough of Bridgeville through Brentwood Bank, though, has so far disbursed 165 checks worth $450 apiece to those who applied for assistance.

Collins said the remaining funds will be released through another round of checks come January.

A federal disaster declaration from FEMA — and accompanying federal relief funds — appears increasingly unlikely, Collins said.

Requests for home furnishings, meanwhile, continue to trickle in even now to the First United Methodist Church, which acted as a Red Cross relief center after the June 21 flood. The church raised approximately $30,000 in donations for various flood-related relief efforts, said Cindy Womer, the church member who helped to oversee them.

“We’ve come so far, and I know that everybody that we’ve helped is so grateful,” said Womer “It’s the spirit of paying it forward and giving, especially now with Christmas coming.”

Some owners of businesses disrupted by the flood are still recovering, as well, and eager to reopen their doors in the New Year.

“We love what we do here; we love the animals,” said Teresa Davis, whose dog kennel and grooming business, The Canine Club, lost five dogs to the flood. “We miss the dogs. And seeing that our customers want us to come back also is a big plus.

“That building has been through a lot. … I’d hate to walk away from it with all the history there,” she said about the Baldwin Street building that had approximately $150,000 in damage from the flood and could reopen by January.

The Railyard Grill and Tap Room on Railroad Street, which opened in 2016, has likewise remained closed for renovation. The flood swept through the restaurant’s dining room and bar, as well as its basement storage area.

Management could not provide a cost estimate for the damage, but said the extent of restoration work — which includes the purchase of new furniture and the reconstruction of the bar — speak to the severity. No official date has been set, they said, but the Railyard will reopen in 2019.

“There’s a lot of anticipation in the community for us to reopen, but we want to do the right way,” said General Manager Jeremy Robinson.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the community. The whole goal of this place was to be a community restaurant.”

Officials from Bridgeville, Upper St. Clair and Bethel Park have been meeting on a regular basis to discuss flood projects in their respective municipalities, said Collins. He said Bridgeville has also discussed projects with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Conservation District that would require their permission.

Collins said that the borough’s engineers are in the process of determining project viability and cost estimates, which have not yet been made. The enlarging of a culvert on Commercial Street where Chartiers Creek empties into McLaughlin Run, one of several projects the borough is weighing, could cost in excess of $1 million. Other projects include the lowering of the ball field in McLaughlin Run Park, allowing it to flood and retain water in the event of heavy rainfall.

The borough has already repaired a portion of retaining wall along Maple Street that was damaged in the flood.

Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review ontributor.

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