Nearly four months after the September floods damaged a Kmart store in Luzerne County, work has begun to reopen it.
Kmart in Edwardsville was hit by flood water from a creek and from the Susquehanna River. It poured into the store, higher than 10 feet in spots, and many people who live near there said it's about time their store comes back.No one had seen any activity at the store until now. Construction equipment was moved onto the property and work will soon begin on renovating the damaged store.
The sight of a front-end loader comes as a relief for people such as Susan Minnick who don't like driving out of the way to do their shopping.
"It`s a big loss and a big inconvenience to go up to Route 309 because it takes more than a half hour to get up and get back where as it`s only a five minute drive to over here and especially when you want to get something quick. It`s very convenient place to come," said Minnick.
"It really helps the borough out with relation to the property tax mercantile tax, income tax, even on our recycling performance grant. They are a big contributor to that," said Edwardsville Borough Manager Charles Szalkowski.
The only business now open in the plaza is the Long John Silver's restaurant, and it was closed for about three weeks after the flood. Customers and employees there said they can`t wait to see the Kmart come back.
"We had no clue what was going on we just waited and waited until it came back and that`s pretty much what the Kmart people are doing too," said Long John Silver's employee Chad Eckrote.
"It will be great. I just said to Sam maybe some of the other stores will come back like Redner's and some of them, they might you know," said Geneva Jumper of Hunlock Creek.
Edwardsville borough officials said there is no word on if or when the other stores in the plaza will return. They hope to see Kmart reopened by late spring or early summer.