Downtown businesses, Exploreum hit by floods

Water costs one business 1,000 pounds of sausage and aged scotch, causes significant damage to museum
Ozaukee Press staff

Homeowners weren’t the only ones mopping up after torrential rains flooded Port Washington this week.

Numerous buildings downtown were flooded too, and cleaning service vehicles lined the streets as shops and attractions tried to get up and running.

Bernie’s Fine Meats closed Monday after 20 inches of water and sewage flooded the basement, damaging equipment and some items stored there, owner Steve Bennett said Tuesday.

Three compressers and the motors to some of the display coolers blew, he said, and a mixer and tumbler may need work.

He lost a 1,000-pound batch of summer sausage, Bennett said, but that’s about it for food.

“For the most part, we don’t store food downstairs,” he said.

But he said he lost about $5,000 in high-end spirits, including 12, 18 and 21-year-old bottles of scotch.

“It was booze that was just in the wrong spot,” Bennett said.

P&R Cleaning was in working on the building Monday, and Bennett said his staff, too, was cleaning up and moving the cleaned items to the first floor in case additional rains caused more problems.

“We’re hoping to be up and running by Wednesday, at least the majority of the business,” Bennett said. “I was a lot more distraught yesterday. I’m getting over the hump. 

 “We’re not alone. We’re going to get through it.”

The Port Exploreum was also closed after 1-1/2 feet of murky water got into the lower maritime level, Wayne Chruscial, executive director of the Port Washington Historical Society, said.

The museum itself is expected to reopen Friday, but the lower level could be closed for two to four weeks, he said. The furnace “is toast,” Chruscial said, and some technology was damaged as well.

“It smells like you cannot believe,” he said. “It’s just a mess.”

The Society’s other facilities, the Resource Center in downtown and the Light Station atop St. Mary’s Hill, are relatively unscathed, Chruscial said.

The lower level of the Harborview Holiday Inn, including the restaurant and bar, meeting and fitness rooms and pool, were closed after sewage seeped in, Director of Sales Cathy Wilger said. 

The pool itself wasn’t affected, Wilger said, but access to it was flooded, causing its closure.

A night service representative noticed the flooding during a floor check about 3 a.m.

“None of the guest rooms or lobby were affected” she said. The hotel set up a continental breakfast and temporary bar in the lobby.

“The guests have been great, and so has the staff,” Wilger said.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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