Fort Plain business vows to rebuild

Posted at: 07/08/2013 5:45 PM
Updated at: 07/09/2013 10:19 AM
By: Kumi Tucker

FORT PLAIN -- Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said any further delay in approving New York's request for a federal disaster declaration is only setting back people who want to rebuild-- people like the owner of a Fort Plain restaurant who is planning to re-open when other business owners and residents are just walking away.

It will probably cost $50,000 to get the Table at Fort Plain open to customers again after replacing everything from equipment to wine to napkins.

"The cellar was full right up to the top step," said Jim Katovitch, father of the restaurant's owner. "The Canajoharie Fire Department came and pumped this out. They pumped 300 gallons a minute for four hours. It was like an Olympic-sized swimming pool."

Owner Aaron Katovitch came back from Philadelphia to his hometown to create fine dining using local produce.

Many businesses in Fort Plain are struggling to rebuild.

"They're definitely going to need the federal assistance. We've been open just about a year and two or three months and it's devastating because we poured all our finances into getting going. This was just an empty building when we started. We created the restaurant from scratch," said Jim Katovitch.

On Reid Street, the signs say condemned and the bright orange paper was on house after house along the creek.

Schumer was in Fort Plain last week. Monday, he called the head of FEMA, urging quick approval for a federal disaster declaration for communities like this one.

"Oh, I hope they do," said Fort Plain resident Greg Erhardt, whose home was hit by flooding. "They got to. Got to have aid, some kind of aid, to help these people that lost all their possessions."

The Table at Fort Plain served customers, but it also employed eight people. They have set a target date of August 1 for a grand re-opening.

'We're going to have to go ahead with the repairs," said Katovitch. "We can't hold up. Each day that you are not open is another lost revenue day so we have to get going as quick as possible."