Montpelier, Vermont, businesses try to recover from floods, rain

Nearly three months after severe flooding inundated Vermont’s capital city, Montpelier businesses launched an event Friday to celebrate how much they’ve rebuilt — and remind the public not to forget them as they struggle to make a complete comeback.

The small city of about 8,000 is celebrating its ongoing recovery with food trucks, music and street performers in hopes of drawing visitors downtown and giving shops a chance to sell their merchandise in sidewalk sales.

“It’s really a way to acknowledge our progress,” said Katie Trautz, executive director of Montpelier Alive, a group that holds events and promotes city businesses. “It’s a symbolic kind of reopening celebration, like we’re turning a page here. …. Businesses are reopening every week.”

Rain will likely fall at times during the two-day event, although Trautz said a weather forecaster has assured organizers that heavy rains will likely be west of the city.

Building supplies sit on the sidewalk outside of the Cool Jewels store in Montpelier, Vt. on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. Three months after severe flooding inundated the small city, Montpelier is holding a reopening celebration Friday and Saturday to show the recovery progress.

Trautz said at least 125 Montpelier businesses were damaged in the July flooding that filled basements and lower floors of businesses with water and obscured vehicles and all but the tops of parking meters downtown. Some resident canoed and kayaked along main streets, while others slogged through the waist-high water to survey the scene.

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