Schoharie Area Long Term Development builds resilient and sustainable communities.
SALT Vision Statement
Schoharie County and surrounding communities will be vibrant, healthy, resilient and sustainable.
Building Community through Collaboration and Volunteerism
SALT Development’s current and future projects seek to build the local economy by promoting our amazing natural and cultural resources and building on our strong agricultural roots through dynamic, creative and collaborative projects. We believe in the power of creative place making.
SALT continues to work in the area of preparedness. When disaster strikes, SALT is ready to serve and is built into the County’s emergency plan. Meanwhile, SALT is preparing children and families through our Kits for Kidsprogram.
SALT is also working with regional partners to collect data, develop plans, seek funds and build local capacity so we can tackle our regions challenge with vacant and abandoned properties.
SALT’s Trails to Tales of Schoharie County website will serve as an educational tool, to market local businesses and create opportunities for new businesses to develop and attract visitors.
On August 28, 2011 rain from Hurricane Irene fell at record levels, more than 13 inches within 30 hours, in the Catskill Mountains and coursed over an already saturated landscape. Rushing water quickly flowed out of the mountains, flooding streams, reservoirs, rivers and dams beyond recorded historic levels. Water overfilled the Gilboa reservoir and flowed over the dam at twice the cubic feet per second of Niagara Falls. A seven foot swell of water raced through the Schoharie Creek basin, engulfing every town in its path. About ten days later Tropical Storm Lee poured record rainfall on an already waterlogged region, bringing additional flooding and destruction.
The Schoharie Creek basin and surrounding areas sustained severe damage due to these storms, generating wide spread devastation of momentous proportion in this rural part of New York State. The high winds and flooding left behind disarray and turmoil. Homes, businesses and farms were leveled. Roads, bridges, crops and livestock were decimated. The damage and upheaval for these communities was, and is, incomprehensible and profoundly devastating to this region. The sheer sense of loss, despair and helplessness temporarily paralyzed the region and its residents throughout the Schoharie basin.
Each small village that has experienced the disaster is a unique, independent entity and all sustained varying levels of damage, depending on proximity to the Schoharie Creek and altitude. The villages of Prattsville and Schoharie were among the most damaged, with roughly 90% of all village structures sustaining major damage. While only a small percentage of the Village of Esperance was flooded, the area that was flooded experienced the highest level of destruction as 23 homes were washed away on Priddle Camp Road. According to FEMA records, 2,041 families were impacted and a higher than usual percentage of maximum grants were awarded, significant for a rural, already economically struggling area.
As soon as residents were allowed back into their destroyed, mud-covered communities local leaders emerged and volunteers began to arrive. Neighbors and strangers alike worked together tirelessly, mucking out and gutting homes, hauling soiled furniture to the curb, cooking and serving meals, and caring for each other. Before the week was out, “volunteer centers” emerged in the towns of Blenheim, Middleburgh, Prattsville and Schoharie. The American Red Cross, Army Corp of Engineers, FEMA, and the National Guard arrived to assist, working alongside local leaders.
Coming together as a community
Volunteers hard at work!
It was clear that a multi-year recovery process was needed to bring families home and rebuild communities. Schoharie Recovery Inc. (SRI) organized immediately following Hurricane Irene and provided an invaluable service by meeting the Schoharie School District area’s recovery needs. A short time later, SALT formed with the goal of coordinating recovery efforts for the entire Schoharie Creek Basin and surrounding areas. Throughout 2012 and much of 2013 SRI and SALT worked together on a daily basis and in partnership with multiple other agencies, these two organizations provided countless recovery services and aided hundreds of individuals and families. As the needs of the combined coverage area continue to change, the decision was made in the fall of 2013 to join forces in order to streamline services for long term recovery and efficiently leverage resources to the best advantage of all the members of our community.