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Batavia business owner: Streetscape work caused flooding

BATAVIA – For River Street business owner Ellie Olsen, the construction work that has been going on outside her business all summer was more than a hassle.

Olsen, owner of Olsen’s Accounting & Tax Service at 19 N. River St., said she walked into her office Aug. 27 to find that her business had been flooded by excavation work related to the North River Street streetscape project.

“The carpet was all soaked,” Olsen said. “A lot of files got destroyed. It’s kind of like walking in and finding your world upside down.”

Olsen said her business has been in the same building for more than 26 years. This is the first time it has flooded, she said.

“I signed another three-year lease a week before we got flooded,” she said.

Olsen said she had to move several filing cabinets into a storage area.

“It is hard to respond to clients because the files are in complete disarray,” Olsen said.

North River Street is being transformed into a curbless street in which pedestrians have priority over cars as part of a city project. The work, which is nearing completion, started in spring.

City Administrator Bill McGrath said the city is addressing costs related to the business being flooded. He said the incident was partially caused by a “really old, leaky limestone foundation.”

McGrath said the incident was unfortunate.

The Batavia City Council approved a budget of $3.5 million for the North River Street streetscape project.

The project is being funded with tax increment financing funds generated from the two active downtown TIF districts.

River Street is the first downtown street to receive streetscape improvements. Work on Houston Street will start next year.

The city’s downtown streetscape advisory committee put together a plan for the downtown with Altamanu, the city’s design consultant company.

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