News Column

Clark County residents return Laynecrest Manor

August 29, 2014

By Brian Bondus, Springfield News-Sun, Ohio

Aug. 29--MEDWAY -- Laynecrest Manor residents are beginning to move back into their apartments, but three months after the complex flooded local leaders say relief efforts for victims are far from over.

The apartment complex has 10 buildings. Flood waters did not affect one and residents are moving back into two buildings that are refurbished. The other seven buildings will open up periodically as contractors finish them.

So far, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 15 home loans and one business loan to victims of the flood for a total of more than $328,000 in assistance, according to SBA spokesman Richard Daigle.

"We want to make sure we are here from the beginning to the end and in the future," Clark County Long-Term Recovery Committee chairman Lt. Jerry Meddock, the chaplain of the Bethle Twp. Fire Department, said. "The recovery process does not end when they move in. In some situations, they could be recovering from this for the rest of their lives."

Meddock is also the spiritual leader for a group established this summer as a response to May's rare flooding.

"We felt there needed to be some sort of committee for this and any future disasters in the county, so that we have a plan together from the get-go," Meddock said.

The team is made up of non-profit and government organizations, including the Red Cross, Clark County'sDepartment of Job and Family Services, United Way, Salvation Army and Clark County Emergency Management.

It is designed to be a one-stop shop for victims of disasters to utilize instead of having to reach out to all the separate agencies. Victims like Debra Parsons.

"I liked it here. I was sad when it happened, and I knew right away I was going to come back if they could rehab it," said Parsons, one the first people moving back into her apartment Thursday.

She said her family encouraged her not to move back to the apartment complex, but she had heard that it was a rare storm -- one some say only happens every three centuries.

"I don't think I'll be here in another 300 years, but at least if happens again I'll be covered," Parsons said.

So far, the committee has raised $3,400 to go toward this relief effort. The group says the majority of that money will go toward mattress and box springs for impacted families, according the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties executive director Kerry Pedraza.

Much of the furniture for residents is getting donated by St. Vincent de Paul. That includes two coffee tables, five end tables, two couches, three chairs/recliners, four lamps, a TV stand, baking pans and one washer/dryer set, according to executive director Peggy Johnson.

Salvation Army captain Justin Caldwell said his agency has two truckloads of furniture to be donated to residents as apartments start to open back up.

Clark County EMA director Lisa D'Allessandris said she is very happy with the way the community came together to help these victims. She feels the LTRC will better-prepared to assist Clark County residents during future disasters.

"When we have another event similar to this, we will have a pre-designated area in place so we can call on partners to make it a more effective and efficient process," D'Allessandris said.


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Source: Springfield News-Sun (Ohio)

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