AP NEWS

Dane County flood damage tops $154 million; Middleton businesses find creative ways to serve customers

September 6, 2018

MIDDLETON - Damage from the historic rainfalls that drenched Dane County in the past two weeks have topped $154 million.

County officials estimate that 1,544 residences were affected by the flooding, including five that were destroyed and 302 with major damage.

Only about 2 percent of the $78.3 million in residential damages that occurred between Aug. 17 and Sept. 3 were covered by insurance, according to an estimate submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management.

The flooding also caused more than $39 million in public sector damage.

And more than two weeks after a storm that brought more than 14 inches of rain in the western part of the county, at least a dozen businesses are still closed or operating out of temporary housing and others are working to repair millions of dollars of damage.

The city of Middleton estimated Wednesday that total costs have exceeded $45 million, including $35 million to commercial properties and $4.7 million to residences.

Those damage totals are likely to climb as recovery continues.

“The important part about these numbers is they’re fluid,” said J. McLellan, public information officer for Dane County. “It probably has changed by now…. These numbers are the beginning of a process.”

In Middleton, some businesses, including the Fairfield Inn and Suites and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, remain closed as owners work to repair damages.

The nearby Costco, where dozens of employees and customers spent a night stranded in the warehouse as about a foot of water covered the floors, reopened after eight days and incurred an estimated $1 million in property damage, according to the city.

Other companies have found ways to keep the doors open, even if those doors are somewhere else.

About 700 employees of UW Health are working at other locations as the organization works to repair an estimated $2 million in damage to its administrative building.

TDS Telecom lost the contents of a warehouse and field service center in Middleton as well as 10 vehicles, with an estimated $4 million in damage, according to the city.

But the company relocated workers to offices in Verona and Waunakee and brought in crews from other parts of the state to restore service to its customers, said public relations manager DeAnne Boegli.

“We believe we’re on a good track,” Boegli said.

After days of searching, the ANiU Salon and Spa reopened Thursday in the Phenix Salon Suites on Mineral Point Road and Nail Spa Plus on Whitney Way in Madison.

Manager Tonya Cramer said she expects to be in the temporary location for at least a couple of months.

The Primrose School of Middleton has been holding classes for its 130 students in the Blackhawk Church while working to replace drywall and disinfect the 12,000-square-foot building, which was inundated with floodwater and sewage.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to get the school back open for our families,” said owner Amanda Kienbaum.

Gilda’s Club incurred what could be $1 million in damage when about 400,000 gallons of water poured into the basement of its clubhouse at 7907 UW Health Court.

“It was pretty much a big swimming pool down here,” said Josh Norton, senior water mitigation manager for Northstar Restoration Services.

Norton said it took about four days to pump the water out, and his workers pulled about a dozen truckloads of damaged building materials from the lower levels, which he was attempting to dry Wednesday with 17 dehumidifiers and about 130 fans.

Executive director Lannia Stenz said the water also destroyed eight furnaces and an elevator.

“But we’re coming back,” she said. “It’s a process and will take us months.”

In the meantime, the nonprofit cancer support agency is holding support group meetings in nine off-site locations and is moving into temporary office space provided by Exact Sciences and Alphagraphics.

Stenz said the clubhouse had flood insurance, but Gilda’s Club is trying to raise money to cover the $100,000 deductible and any costs that exceed the $1 million cap.

She said renovation plans will include efforts to protect the clubhouse from future flooding.

“We’ve been around for a decade,” she said. “And we plan to be around for decades more.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly