Volunteers clean up the basement of Shaker Antiques on Broad Street on Monday. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Flood relief dollars began arriving in the downtown area Monday while volunteers and business owners continued cleaning up.
The United Way of Greater Kingsport handed the Downtown Kingsport Association a $5,000 check for flood relief.
UWGK Executive Director Danelle Glasscock said it was important for her agency to start cash support for the flood relief effort.
“The United Way of Greater Kingsport feels it was important to help our downtown businesses because in this community, we are all interconnected,” she said of the donation.
DKA Executive Director Sherri Mosley also said WKPT-TV is teaming up with Mountain States Health Alliance to hold a flood relief telethon Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m., with the last hour of the event being broadcast live.
To contribute, call (423) 857-7789 or visit www.downtownkingsport.org.
Last Wednesday evening’s sudden rain storm dumped nearly four inches of water on the downtown area — engulfing Broad and Market streets — in less than two hours.
DKA’s Broad Street office has turned into downtown’s flood relief headquarters, with cleanup efforts progressing “slowly but surely,” Mosley said.
“Actually Market Street is looking pretty good. There are a few businesses that are still not open yet. They are still cleaning out,” Mosley said. “I don’t think people understood the magnitude of devastation. ... Businesses on Market Street lost about a third of their inventory.”
Mosley also announced downtown businesses will hold an “after the flood” sale this Saturday.
“We’re going to turn it into a block party with music,” she said of the event. “It will be a fun event. People can bring donations and buy products that might have been damaged by the flood.”
Mosley noted DKA is still getting calls from businesses needing assistance.
“When we distribute [flood relief] money, we will have to ask them to fill out forms and applications,” Mosley said. “The first thing to be covered would be emergency cleanup related expenses since [flood] insurance is not available in most instances. At this point, we don’t know of any business that has flood insurance. If there are monies left after that, then we would deal with them on a case-by-case basis.”
Kingsport Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Miles Burdine gave DKA credit for leading the relief effort.
“Adverse situations offer the best opportunity for communities to come together, solve problems and help each other,” Burdine said in an email.
“Such is the case with the horrible flood last week. The positive mantra: ‘Never below you. Never above you. Always beside you’ was and still is in the hearts of everyone involved. The Kingsport spirit was very visible the day of and the immediate days following the flood, but those affected will need support in the long-term, too.
“We have learned that most of the businesses and individual homes that were damaged did not have flood insurance so the financial burden is significant. Some may never recover. But none are quitting. So help is needed. The dedicated and good-hearted staff and volunteers of the Downtown Kingsport Association have stepped forward to lead several efforts that will provide opportunities for the community to help and we are all confident that the Kingsport spirit will be apparent there, too.”