Flood damage may keep some Bloomington businesses closed for another week

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Intense rain that sent floodwater rushing into multiple Bloomington businesses Friday night could force some shops, bars and restaurants to stay closed for a week or more.

Kirkwood Avenue was one of the hardest hit parts of Bloomington, according to Monroe County Emergency Management Director Allison Moore.

Bob Costello, owner of Village Deli on Kirkwood Avenue, said his restaurant had three inches of water in the main dining area and six feet of water in the basement.  

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a flood like this,” Costello said. “Rain lasted about an hour, but the street filled up within about 15 to 20 minutes. I think the damage to our business is anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000.”

Kilroy’ Bar and Grill co-owner Kevin Duffy said when water started rushing into the building Friday night, he and other staff members told everyone in the bar to hurry upstairs to the second floor. But not everyone listened.

“One of the customers, she was running out to get her car, and it was actually one of the cars that ended up on a pylon,” Duffy said. “We actually literally had to drag her back in saying there’s nothing you can do. You can’t get in the car and drive it anywhere.”

A cleanup crew and large fans were the only activity inside Kilroy’s Monday afternoon. Duffy said he and his associates were still working to determine if they will need to replace the flooring in the building, which could cost upwards of $20,000.

Neither Duffy nor Costello are exactly sure when they’ll be able to reopen, but both owners said it could be at least a week from Monday.

Bloomington and Monroe County officials are still gathering damage assessments and meeting with property owners to outline next steps in the flood recovery process.

Moore said the EMA was in the process of applying for federal disaster relief for homeowners, non-profits and public properties that sustained damage. However, there’s no guarantee of funding because it’s not known if the county-wide damage will meet the necessary threshold.

In the meantime, several business owners were hoping to band together and apply for Small Business Association loans. In order for that to happen, at least 25 businesses in the county must have sustained damage equal to 40% of their assessed value.

“Most of the businesses on our street do not have flood insurance,” Costello said. “We are assessing what our individual damage is, within our own businesses, then we’ll approach the county.”

The Monroe County Health Department is also providing guidance to businesses with food damage.

“Told restaurants what they needed to do in terms of sanitization, cleaning, what foods they could keep, what needed to be thrown out,” Costello explained.

Some parts of Indiana University also sustained storm damage. IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said there were several downed trees and leaks in roofs around campus.

“We had flooding on the first floor of Bryan Hall, some elevator shafts at other buildings that took on water,” Carney said in a statement. “Plus some damage to the ‘hardscape’ outside Ballantine Hall.”

A Red Cross emergency shelter set up at Bloomington North High School remained open Monday. Red Cross spokesperson LaMar Holliday said two people had stayed at the shelter since the Friday night storm. The shelter was expected to close by 8 a.m. Tuesday, but remain on standby status due to incoming inclement weather.

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