Recovery continues as new homeowners, businesses move into Schoharie
Tuesday marks six months since Tropical Storm Irene caused devastating flooding throughout Upstate New York. In the Village of Schoharie, which was nearly wiped off the map, a number of people decided to pack up and leave rather than rebuild. But as our Megan Cruz tells us, others have come to take their place.
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SCHOHARIE, N.Y. -- "I'm originally from Schoharie County," said Larry Breckenridge. "Went to High School here, grew up here."
"We lived in Clifton Park for a couple of months, but we just wanted something more like a country setting," said Jeannette Fleming.
Different reasons, but the same destination: the Village of Schoharie, even despite the 500-year flood that destroyed most of it 6 months ago.
"We thought, 'why not?' It's just beautiful and we love the house and the people. We kind of fell in love with the town," said Fleming.
For Fleming, the move to Schoharie was a chance to call a new place home. Her and her family just moved to New York from France in May.
"We were just renting, so we thought, 'why not buy something?'" she said.
Fleming says her and her family moved into their 19th century Schoharie home in December, where they spent their Christmas. Two months later and still so much work needs to be done. She said it will likely take another 10 months to get it all fixed up, but in the end, it'll all be worth it.
"It's going to be a labor of love, that's for sure!" she said.
Down the street, another labor of love, and a chance for a Schoharie native to bring some normalcy to his struggling hometown.
"I felt that it might be nice to have a place - a familiar place - where you come in, maybe forget what you have going in your life right then," said Breckenridge.
So despite his better judgment, Breckenridge has just opened his second Blue Star Cafe. This recent one is on Main Street in the Village and has replaced the Alley Cat Diner that didn't reopen after the flood.
"It wasn't the smartest business decision, but it's been a very rewarding business decision," he said.
Because for him, it's about much more than money.
"People come in that maybe haven't seen each other in 4 or 5 months," said Breckenridge. "Just seeing that reconnection of a community."
So while some have decided to move out, Fleming and Breckenridge hope others follow their footsteps instead.
Both say they see great things for their future in Schoharie.