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Bloomington Nonprofit Faces 'Existential Crisis' After Recent Flooding

WBRP basement
Hannah Russell/WBRP
All materials stored in the basement of the WBRP at 724 W. Washington St. had to be scrapped after it was flooded with sewage during late June storms.

The West Bloomington Revitalization Project estimates it will need $50,000 to clean and repair its building at 724 W. Washington St. following last month's flooding.

Volunteer for the WBRP's bike co-op, Dan Terkla, said all donated bikes and most supplies for its tool library and build-a-bed program had to be thrown out after they were submerged in 6 feet of sewage in the basement.

“The basement will no longer be usable. We are without storage space and without access to the basement and all of our backup supplies are gone,” Terkla said.

Bicycles in flooded basement
WBRP has to turn over its donated bicycles for scrap metals after they were submerged in sewage following heavy storms in late June.

Terkla called it an “existential crisis” for the nonprofit, adding that many of the materials that had to be discarded were donated by the community and the nonprofit can’t afford to buy replacements.

“We in the building are devastated and we are heartbroken when we see the pictures,” Terkla said. “We want to reopen so we can do what we do for the west side and Blo-No in general.

“It’s going to be a while.”

Terkla said some materials on the ground floor can be salvaged after the flooding, but the flooring has to be replaced.

He said it’s likely going to be at least a month before a flooring company can come in and he said all contractors appear to be backed up with work.

Bike co-op director Dan Steadman added electrical repairs will have to be done once the basement is sanitized.

“We’re hoping these don’t add too much to the costs,” Steadman said.

The WBRP is accepting financial donations through a link on its website.

Terkla said the organization has raised nearly half of the money through insurance and donations.

He said WBRP also is considering storage options to restock its supply inventory while the building remains closed. He said the nonprofit is looking into setting up shipping containers outside where donations can be accepted.

There are a few bright spots. Terkla said the building is still structurally sound and all of the bikes were taken to a neighbor who sells the scrap metal.

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