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MILLBURN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Main Streets across New Jersey are looking to turn the page on Ida and return to business as usual, and with four more counties getting disaster declarations Friday, financial help could be coming soon.
On the first Friday night open after the flood, tables filled up fast at the Millburn Standard restaurant.
“It’s been a crazy experience. We’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” restaurant owner Ryan Harris told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
Like so many in Millburn‘s quaint downtown, Harris and his team put sweat and tears into drying out, cleaning up and lifting each other up after some major losses.
“We lost up to about 200K in either equipment, product,” Harris said.
“They had, like, four, five, six feet of water in their stores, destroyed everything. They got to replace everything, you know, and they need help,” Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo said.
Now, more financial help is on the way. On Friday, Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union counties were added to the major disaster declaration for damages from Ida.
Essex, which includes a flooded and gutted downtown Millburn, was initially left off the list.
“FEMA had to come. They had to do their due diligence and they did it, and they saw for themselves — our people in Essex County, from one end of the county to the other end, had major impacts,” DiVincenzo said.
Federal relief is certainly a help, but for the shops that were next to the river that had to be completely cleared out, it probably won’t be enough to rebuild.
That’s why community supporters like Joanna Parker Lentz are going door to door, store to store, to make sure the small businesses who are the heartbeat of the area know about a community fund that’s already raised $300,000 to help get them back on their feet.
“We’re providing help to people who need to do the business grants, and just, everyone’s coming together,” Parker Lentz said.
“We are resilient and that all of the businesses do plan on coming back,” Millburn resident Micole Cohen Richter said.
“Whatever we can get, it’s gonna help everyone,” Harris said.
In the midst of a health crisis and now a natural disaster, every little bit helps.
CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.
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