In 2011, Hurricane Irene brought unprecedented flooding to the Esperance area, although Landis’ higher elevation allowed the Arboretum to remain relatively unscathed. Through NY Rising and the Governor’s Office for Storm Recovery (GOSR), local communities planned to not only repair the damage but also to become more resilient in the event of future events.
Landis’ founder, Fred Lape, welcomed all to his farm to enjoy the grounds and the panoramic views. In keeping with that welcoming spirit and because of Landis’ geographic advantage, the Arboretum was selected over several other local possibilities to house an emergency shelter. Preparations began shortly after Hurricane Irene to provide emergency assistance to those area residents impacted by any future flooding. The shelter was built with the help of Federal, State, and Local monies. The Shelter was designed by Frank Gilmore of Stracher-Roth-Gilmore, located in Schenectady; Hoosic Valley Contractors is responsible for the construction. Construction is scheduled to be completed in May of 2020.
The Red Cross will begin training Landis in emergency management to ensure that this vital community resource will be ready for action.
In the event of an emergency declaration, the shelter will open its doors to a maximum of 18 people. The shelter’s position, nestled next to the Meeting House high above Schoharie Creek, allows for overflow from the shelter into the Meeting House’s central room. In keeping with this location, the shelter will have skylights and windows bringing in the beauty of Landis as it provides a short term respite to those in need.
Although the shelter won’t have a kitchen, it will be stocked with Meals Ready to Eat and, if necessary, can be accessed by helicopter in the nearby field. There will be three restrooms, one of which will be handicap accessible. Our community members’ four-legged family members are welcome too and will be housed in their very own pet hotel. Hopefully, those in need of the shelter, both two and four-legged, will find solace at the Arboretum — as so many visitors have done in the past.