Rebuilding From The Flood

Many who were hit hard by the Flood of 2011 are now beginning to put their lives back on track. It is taking a heavy toll on some who are trying to make a return to business as usual.

Receding flood waters north of the metro are starting to reveal some of the damage of the 2011 flood. Two miles from the river on the Nebraska side, the landscape mirrors a scorched earth...reminiscent of a moonscape. Now that the water has gone, the real work begins.

Steve Stodola is the property manager at the Northview Apartments in Blair. He says it's been a rough three months.

“We've completely cleaned out the apartment with all the rotted dry wall and got the mold out and had it treated by a certified mold restoration company,” he said.

The water was up a couple of feet over cabinets on the lower level of the apartment complex. All the cabinets had to be replaced, along with the doors and trim.

Appliances and carpeting were moved to the second level as 24 of the 48 units succumbed to rising flood waters. Stodola says some residents stayed until the last minute.

“They were virtually walking through water moving their personal items in to U-Hauls and out the door they went,” he said.

After the water receded, the rebuilding began.

What we had to do was we had to tear out the drywall from four feet and replace all the wiring,” Stodola said.

Fortunately, Stodola said the water didn't damage heating and cooling systems.

"We've had to replace several contacts, some capacitors and a few electric motors, he said.”

There are still a few reminders of how high the water was...preserved in glass.

Nearly all of the first floor sliding deck doors were full of water. Stodola said all of them will have to be replaced.

Several of the apartments are ready to rent...nearly three months after being engulfed by the Flood of 2011.

“There was a saving grace," Stodola said. "The river water that moved in here was mostly reservoir water so it was relatively clean.”

Stodola said many of those who lived on the lower level were able to move some of their possessions into second level apartments. he says many of those who left stayed with friends or family and have already inquired about returning to Northview.

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