West Bloomington Revitalization Project continues flood recovery efforts

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:43 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 NEWS) - It’s been almost six months since the historic rainfall touched down in McLean County, damaging thousands of homes with flood water.

And many people and businesses over the last few months have been working on recovery efforts and getting back to normal. The West Bloomington Revitalization Project is one of them.

It’s a nonprofit that helps people get things like beds, fresh food, transportation and more.

Operations Manager for West Bloomington Revitalization Project Hannah Russell said because of damage to their building in June from heavy rainfall, Russell said their mission is on hold.

“There was like a sediment all over the floor in the main area,” Russell said.

“Then I went down into the basement and when I opened the door to the basement, definitely knew something has gone wrong because there was just a pile of stuff right at the foot of the stair,” she added.

Russell said the basement was filled with water about six feet high and the main floor about three inches.

Dan Steadman, director of Bike Co-Op in the building said 80 bikes that were in the basement during the storms were damaged.

“We have a lot of people that use bikes not just for pleasure but for work and church and school and going to the grocery store and stuff and we really haven’t been able to help them very much,” Steadman said.

Russell said the $10,000 in insurance money alone couldn’t cover the cost of damages.

But thanks to fundraising efforts and help from 50 volunteers, they were able to have majority of the damages fixed.

“The flood was kind of a blessing in disguise,” Russell said.

“It made us pause and stop operations and address some serious issues that we otherwise wouldn’t have had time to address,” she added. “It is giving us kind of like a fresh slate here in the building.”

Russell says they still need to finish up ceiling repairs and put in new ceiling fans.

She said she hopes to allow some people back into the building by Christmas and open completely by early January.

Russell also said the organization is hosting a volunteer day Dec. 11 and can reach out to her to sign up through the organization’s email.

She said the organization is also still taking donations and doing online auctions to help finish the recovery efforts.

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