My name is Judy Genova and I live in a small town in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. I commute 35 miles per day to work in a busy high school as a teaching assistant, and my other hat is managing a small sheep farm where I have lived for 28 years and raised my family. My third hat is as a certified personal trainer which is a 40 minute commute from my farm. So, I am emphasizing the word commute as part of my daily routine.
All that came to a halt last week.
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Hurricane Florence took away the lower portion of my farm driveway including the culverts and 4,000 lbs of concrete retaining walls. This driveway is the only ingress and egress to get to and from my home to the outside world.
I had just repaired the driveway earlier this summer, 2018. That repair cost $5,300 which is still owed. Then, in early August, we got 9 inches of rain in less than 48 hours which took away most of that first repair, creating dangerous sinkholes in my driveway. Gov. Cuomo declared upstate New York a state of emergency. However, FEMA officials denied the claim leaving me with no hope of any government assistance. My farm insurance also won't cover flood damage to a driveway. With no financial assistance, I was forced to make a temporary repair to the driveway which was all I could afford. That cost me an additional $1,400, but I was assured by my contractor that although not a permanent solution, this fix would hold up to several inches of rain.
Disastrously, just two weeks later, Hurricane Florence made her way up north, lashing just under 5 inches of rain in less than a few hours.
I awoke on Tuesday morning, Sept. 18, 2018 to a catastrophic scene: my second repair had washed away, and all that was left was a huge 15 foot gap filled with raging water, making it impossible for me to get a car out to the main road. The damage was so severe that Homeland Security Officers from Albany waded through the flash flood waters , and up the 1500 feet to my home to make sure we were alive and well. .
I am a resilient and independent sheep farmer, and I am used to managing on my own. But now I am forced to ask for help. Please contribute to helping me build a 15 ft span bridge composed of steel and concrete which hopefully will survive what Mother Nature can dish out. I have consulted with an engineer who came to the farm, and spent close to 2 hours of his time at no charge in order to help me move forward. He estimates the cost of blueprint plans for a structure that conforms to all the safety laws regarding weight bearing capacity to be $7500 . He also estimates the cost of building the bridge that can weather this kind of storm at $35,000. The bridge costs so much because the water flowing off my property feeds into a designated trout stream and must conform to New York State DEC Soil and Water Management laws as well as safety. In addition, when you live on a farm, you have to allow for hay trucks, propane gas trucks, livestock hauling trucks, firewood trucks and the town firetruck being able to cross your bridge without collapse.
I need a total of $49,000: $35,000 for building a new bridge, $7,500 for a blueprint that will pass all the safety standards, and $6,500 pay to off the cost of the my lost repairs. I hope that with your donations, to my Go Fund Me bridge assistance, I can continue to hold on to my small farm, our flock of sheep, a home for my own children and my tenants, as well as a place of wonder for all the young families who bring their small children to enjoy a day on my farm. Thank you!
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