By John Mathews
Special To The Standard
Demolished homes have been hauled away. The septic system has been replaced. There’s hardpack on the roads. All but one of the Dumpsters are gone. Mobile homes have been pulled away, their pads redone, insulation and skirting replaced.
And some of the dozen or so displaced people are coming back to Riverside Mobile Home Park after Irene, but others are not.
“It’s coming together,” said Penny Davis, the town constable, whose river front unit was a total loss. Just last week, she moved back to the same location into a replacement home on a new elevated pad with anchors to hold the unit in place.
Her brother, Boyd Davis, whose nearby home was also demolished is waiting for a doublewide to be placed on a new pad, further away from the river. “It looks nicer because a lot of the junk around the park got washed away,” he quipped.
While the physical look of Riverside has improved immensely since the devastating flood, problems remain. Some people can’t afford to return, even with the grants they received from FEMA. Other residents, said Michael Burnett, “have not gotten over the trauma of the flood,” and don’t want to return.
In the three plus months since Irene, a formidable amount of work has been done in Riverside.
A major job was replacing the septic system. That required installing a 3,000-gallon holding tank and two 4,000-gallon pumping tanks, paid for by the Housing Foundation that manages the park for the state.
The Foundation also paid for fixing pads under the homes, re-leveling the units on concrete blocks, replacing insulation underneath, and skirting along side the units. State funds paid for hauling and junking demolished units and Sustainable Woodstock contributed to construction of some new pads.
Dale Snader, whose Dale’s Homes has done much of the rehabilitation of Riverside Park, said the mild weather has been a huge help. Among remaining jobs, he said, are finishing laying hardpack on the roads, rebuilding lots along the river and stabilizing portions of the riverbank.
This article first appeared in the December 15th edition of the Vermont Standard.