Small business owner prays she will not have to elevate restaurant

Small business owner prays she will not have to elevate restaurant

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Denham Springs businesses, like homeowners in the area, are hoping they will not have to elevate their properties as one family-run business said elevation would be a devastating blow.

Kyla Randazzo is holding her breath while she awaits a final ruling from the City of Denham Springs on her restaurant, Randazzo's Italian Market on Capitol Street. She hopes she will not have to elevate under FEMA regulations.

She estimates she has already lost $200,000 to flood damages and that if she has to pay the costs of elevating the building, it could mean the end of her business.

"I don't think we would be able to do it. It would be completely detrimental, which I really don't think we will have to, but you know, you never know, the city is under the restrictions of the federal government under FEMA, and so their hands are pretty much tied," Randazzo said.

The city announced earlier in the week that after initial inspections by FEMA, more than 12,000 buildings, some of them small family-run businesses, were found to be "substantially damaged," meaning the cost of repairs is more than 50 percent of the property's value.

Those properties would have to be raised to base flood elevation before a building permit could be issued, but FEMA's inspection can be appealed. Randazzo is already prepared. She got a damage estimate from an appraiser showing her business was not substantially damaged and turned this into the permit office.

The city will do a final inspection on Saturday, and by then Randazzo hopes she can start repairing and rebuilding.

"We did lose a lot, you know, all of our inventory, all of our equipment, so, we're just slowly putting it back together."

Randazzo plans on opening a catering service in a small building behind the restaurant shortly after getting their permit so they can generate at least a little income.

She wants to open the full restaurant in January.

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