Floodwaters didn't stop a community from coming together Friday night, as a popular family event kicked off this year after volunteers helped restore a local park. As our Elyse Mickalonis tells us, many were happy to celebrate the event, but say there’s still a lot of work to be done in the community.
JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- Almost a year after floodwaters hit the Southern Tier, a family event is back on the map.
“Eight to ten feet of water in the park and to see it come back, it means a lot to the village and a lot to the people,” said Greg Deemie, (R) Johnson City Mayor.
Several feet of water engulfed Northside Park last September when Tropical Storm Lee hit the area. Many worried the 45th annual Johnson City Fields Days weekend wasn’t going to happen, but volunteers and students from Broome-Tioga BOCES made sure it did.
“The village got a grant from BOCES. The BOCES kids came down and rebuilt the stands, the dugouts. Our parks guys did an amazing job getting this place back to where it is,” said Diane Salva, Johnson City Celebration Committee Co-chair.
Visitors enjoyed rides, food, music and more on Friday. Organizers say the weekend serves as a major fundraising event for many non-profits.
“Field Days is a fundraiser for lot of nonprofit organizations and for a lot of these groups, its their biggest fundraiser,” said Salva.
Paul Burnett, Johnson City Lions Club President, added, “It’s one of our major fundraisers we’ve sponsored in the Johnson City schools, eyeglasses for every child that’s needed them.”
Many say they’re happy with this year’s opening night turnout, but want people to remember that the community is still recovering.
"Sometimes people they don't realize that there's resources in their community they're still eligible for and that's what we try to do, help them get connected to what they need to get back to what we call their new normal after the flood,” said Jennifer Davy, Project RENEW Crisis Counselor. “A lot of people are still displaced, a lot of people are still just getting into their homes or are never getting back to their homes."
Getting a family event back after floodwaters damaged so much. The Johnson City Field Days will run through Labor Day.