Town Assesses Ida Damage, Adds Bulk Pickups For Debris

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High water in Verona Park’s lake damaged the railing on the walking path below the dam …

Township officials have added bulk pickups for Friday, Saturday and Monday to pick up debris and damage from Hurricane Ida. They did not say which areas of town would be picked up when, so bring everything to the curb as soon as you can.

Wednesday night’s torrential downpour caused the Peckman River to overflow its banks, flooding basements on Derwent Avenue and lower Linden Avenue, leaving some residents with four feet of water to pump out. Storm runoff from saturated yards elsewhere around town and overwhelmed many sump pumps.

Several of the businesses on the north side of Bloomfield Avenue across from Verona Park were flooded after the rising lake and Peckman spilled into the avenue last night. Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch Resale Shop is closed until further notice after it was blanketed by water and mud. The barbers at JT’s Barbershop relocated to its West Caldwell location today because of the high water. Floor drains saved Green Point Juicery from significant damage but owner Eugene Onishkevich and his staff were giving everything an extra clean this morning.

…and left fish stranded on a storm drain.

Township Manager Matthew Cavallo said this morning that the town did not yet have a full assessment of the damage to homes and businesses. Superintendent Dr. Rui Dionisio said that Forest Avenue elementary school had about 2 inches of water in its basement, even though the district had added to the drainage system on the school grounds. “That’s what happens when we build a school at the bottom of a hill,” Dionisio said by text message. He said that the school is being cleaned and that the district has contacted a remediation company. Verona’s public schools open on September 9.

As residents and businesses clean up from the storm, township officials are encouraging everyone to photograph all the damage and make a written inventory. “We are waiting to see what kind of disaster relief may become available from the state and federal governments,” the town said on social media. “We assume the governor is asking FEMA and the White House for a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey, which hopefully includes a request for individual assistance, which is key for relief for those without insurance.” Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ11), Verona’s representative to Congress said by email that she is supporting Gov. Murphy’s request for a disaster declaration.

Verona Park photos courtesy Bob Malyuk

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