Belleayre Mountain began preparing its emergency evacuation center in response to a severe hurricane warning for the Catskill Region in anticipation of major flooding in the Phoenicia and Margaretville areas.
In the wake of Hurricane Irene, the emergency evacuation center was in full operation servicing 120 adults, 40 children and 20 dogs. During the first night, Belleayre was used as an emergency ambulance dispatch center because Margaretville Hospital and Kingston Hospitals were cut off by flooding and road closures. The emergency evacuation center included an expanded 16 bed, fully equipped medical response facility able to service ambulance calls.
Road closures made it necessary to establish helicopter landing zones in both the upper and lower areas to accommodate emergency evacuations and incoming food deliveries. Food deliveries and donations made it possible for the Belleayre Kitchen, operated by Centerplate, to provide an average of 1,200 meals a day as well as distributing 4,000 MRE’s provided by the American Red Cross.
The evacuation center then expanded to include the NYS Office of Emergency Management headquarters with representatives from FEMA, OEM, Red Cross, and other Delaware and Ulster County relief offices, along with an area open to the public to apply for hurricane relief.
All of Belleayre’s employees dedicated their time to the relief efforts and went above and beyond. A variety of duties were preformed including preparing, serving and delivering meals. The staff took turns in the food pantry unloading, signing in food donations, clothing donations, organizing the goods and assisting the public with their needs. Staff established helicopter landing zones and unloaded and then reloaded supplies to be sent out to communities in need. The new maintenance center was used to fix emergency equipment from Ulster County. The county provided mechanics to work alongside Belleayre employees to fix equipment and emergency vehicles including fire trucks, ambulances and heavy machinery.
On Saturday September 3rd, The Belleayre Music Festival was to wrap up its 20th anniversary summer concert featuring Bela Fleck and the Original Flecktones: Howard Levy, Victor Wooten and Future Man.
Conservatory board members unanimously agreed to turn the final show into a benefit concert. Chairman of the Board Joe Kelly said that “making the concert into a benefit for flood victims was a natural decision for the conservatory. Our mission is to benefit the Catskill Region”. The net proceeds brought in $40,000 to help aid in flood relief efforts in the Catskills. The benefit concert provided both funding to help local communities begin to rebuild and provided an uplifting experience during a very stressful period.
Here amongst others at Belleayre Mountain today were Mel Litoff, Executive and Artistic Director of the Belleayre Music Festival, Tony Lanza, Superintendant of Belleayre Mountain, Peg Ellsworth of the MARK Project and Buffy Kibe, Executive Director of SHARP.The M-ARK project and SHARP Committee work to unite efforts and secure resources to build and revitalize the surrounding communities. The two organizations were given the $40,000 in an effort to help aid the families and businesses in need in both Delaware and Ulster County.