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‘It’s never been anything like this:’ Flooding covers nursery’s gardens and upends sidewalks

Onondaga, N.Y. — Jim Sollecito’s landscaping business and nursery has been in the same spot for 45 years. He’s never seen it flood like it did today.

The water rushed over his boots as he talked, like he was standing in a fishing stream. The lush gardens that are usually covered in snow this time of year instead looked like a water feature. Ornamental planters floated, lost islands.

“This is not good,” he said, surveying the water. By mid-morning, several paved paths had been heaved by the water. And plantings, including a rare variety of hostas, had washed away.

Sollecito said it would probably cost at least $10,000 to fix the damage he’d surveyed so far.

The water rushed out of a culverts and down Howlett Hill Road in the town of Onondaga. Sollecito said he’s had problems with flooding before and built a retaining wall in some areas to stop it. He’s also complained to the town. He thinks this instance was made worse by debris that hadn’t been cleaned from the culverts. He received a call early in the morning, from a neighbor in the development behind him, to tell him that his business was flooding.

Workers were chopping up ice to give the water more places to drain. So far, the basement was dry. But it was still early.

Next door to him, the Amodio family’s house sat like an island in a rising pond. Heather Amodio said when her husband left for work at 6:30 a.m., everything seemed fine. But she had to call him home an hour later because their yard and basement was filled with rushing water.

Their sump pump was running, but there was still a foot of water in their basement. Their garage was filling up and they were getting ready to hook up another sump pump in the basement.

Amodio said her husband’s family has owned the land for 75 years and this is the worst flooding they’ve seen.

Across the street and down the hill, parts of the Onondaga County Veterans Cemetery and Loomis Hill Cemetery were under water. Wreaths and Christmas decorations floated in more than a foot of water.

Amodio had taken the day off to clean the up the house and put away Christmas decorations, but those plans were scrapped. Her husband was in the basement, trying to push the water back. Amodio worried that they’d lose the furnace if the water rose much more.

Last time, there was 4 feet of water in the basement.

“All we can do is wait,” she said.

Marnie Eisenstadt writes about people, life and culture in Central New York. Have an idea or question? Contact her anytime: email | twitter | Facebook | 315-470-2246

Article source: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2018/01/its_never_been_anything_like_this_flooding_covers_nurserys_gardens_and_upends_si.html