Damage Puts Future Of Mayville Businesses In Peril

MAYVILLE – Flooding in the village of Mayville is testing the resolve of area residents and businesses.

Heavy rains on Wednesday caused flooding throughout the community, specifically on Route 394, between Mayville Dental Arts and Webb’s Captain’s Table Restaurant.

According to Ben Webb, manager of Webb’s Captain’s Table Restaurant, located at 115 W. Lake Road in Mayville, the drainage issues began when New York state did reconstructive work on Route 394 in Mayville more than a decade ago.

“(The Department of Transportation) raised the road and changed the waterflow,” Webb said. “This is an ongoing issue the state continues to brush off.”

According to Webb, the businesses most affected include Webb’s Captain’s Table Restaurant, Mayville Dental Arts, Living Glass & Art Gallery Studio and Property Maintenance & Restorative Services. Webb rents the building at 147 W. Lake Road that houses both the gallery and the contractor business.

“We’ve lost tenants before because of (flooding),” Webb said. “That’s like $15,000 going away.”

Webb said that because of standing water on the road, traffic – including school buses – is forced to slow down or come to a complete stop on Route 394 in front of his business.

“The village of Mayville has done what they can. We’ve talked to Department of Transportation engineers, but they keep coming back with the same answers,” Webb said. “Clearly practice is a little different than theory.

Denise Williams, owner of the Living Glass & Art Gallery Studio, said that she is concerned about her gallery after the flooding.

“I’m worried that I can’t reopen,” Williams said.

Williams has been operating the gallery for about one year.

“This is a beginning gallery and this weekend is the (Chautauqua-Lake Erie Art Trail open studio tours), which I’m a sponsor for and also involved with as an artist. Everything that was 1 foot above the ground in the gallery is ruined,” she said. “I don’t know if this will cost me my business.”

Jim Schultz, owner of Property Maintenance & Restorative Services, said that he was dealing with nearly 8 inches of standing water in his business on Wednesday.

“My equipment and (current projects) are underwater,” Schultz said.

He also said that this is a recurring issue – his business flooded last year, as well as on multiple occasions in previous years.

According to Martin Bova Jr., mayor of Mayville, he was awake and checking on the village at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning because of the storm.

“This is unlike anything I have seen in the past,” Bova said. “There are quite a few areas flooded that we don’t normally see flooding. This situation has become worse over the last several years.”

Bova said that he is looking toward having a meeting with the county, state and town of Chautauqua regarding the drainage issues.

“We can’t keep doing this every time we have a rain event,” Bova said. “It puts economic strains on residents and businesses – it’s really a quality-of-life issue.”

According to Bova, before the reconstruction of Route 394, there were multiple drainage pipes that transferred water directly into the lake. Bova believes that during reconstruction, the Department of Transportation eliminated all but one of the drainage pipes, with the understanding that one pipe was sufficient.

“The pipe can’t handle this amount of water,” Bova said. “We really want to come to a good resolution … with some ideas to mitigate this problem.”

Paul Benson, owner of an apartment building at 6 Memorial Drive in Mayville, said a personally built berm has saved his building from flooding.

“I built the berm two years ago, and reinforced it last year,” he said.

According to Benson, his 2 foot berm acts like a dyke to protect his building.

“I have been flooded half a dozen times before,” Benson said. “With 1 feet of standing water in a building as big as mine, it’s a swimming pool.”

Benson suggested that additional culverts were needed in the area to direct water to the lake.

“The weather has exceeded what the drainage around Route 394 was built for,” he said.