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Residents and businesses clean up their share of $175 million in flood damage

The Edenville Dam collapse on May 19 caused upwards of $175 million in damage around Midland...
The Edenville Dam collapse on May 19 caused upwards of $175 million in damage around Midland County. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 7:27 PM EDT
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(6/9/2020) - State and county officials pegged damage estimates from last month's historic flooding in Mid-Michigan at a staggering $175 million.

Mixed into that are thousands of residents and businesses dealing with individual losses. Three weeks after the Edenville and Sanford dams broke, residents and business owners continue working feverishly to put their lives back together.

Inside Alex's Railside Restaurant in Sanford, the water rose eight and a half feet inside the kitchen. The owners described the damage as the aftermath of a grenade detonating.

"There was wiring hanging. There was high chairs up in the rafters," said owner Cindy Long.

Midland County has estimated $175 million in damages from Mother Nature's fury – and that number is expected to go higher. Some 250,000 homes, businesses and nonprofit organizations all were affected, according to the Midland County Board of Commissioners.

"I don't know how they're coming up with all the numbers on this stuff, but some of the stuff in these people's homes can never be replaced again, so how do you put a price on that stuff?" Bob Long said.

Midland resident Chris Bonds received flood damage at his home on Oak Meadows Court and at his second home on the Tobacco River near the Edenville Dam.

His riverfront house got it much worse. The entire basement was flooded, destroying a brand new remodeled kitchen, a bathroom and exercise equipment.

Basically, half his home was underwater. Then he had to deal with the storm sewers backing up a couple days later on Oak Meadows Court, which brought in about 6 to 8 inches of water in the basement.

"If you've driven around the area at all, I've commented to my wife and family that it looks to me like I remember seeing pictures of a nuclear holocaust," Bonds said. "You drive by the lake, which is a flooded river basin. You see the trees that have been at the bottom of the lake for 100 years and it just looks desolate."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she plans to apply for major disaster assistance through the federal government. That would allow for more resources, such as counseling, road repairs and low interest loans.

President Donald Trump has to approve the major disaster assistance before additional resources are released.

Meanwhile, the Longs have filed a lawsuit against Boyce Hydro, which owns the Edenville and Sanford dams. They hope to win compensation to get Alex's Railside Restaurant back up and running.