Andy Bauer’s Bellwood Lakes home took a beating when floodwaters started ripping through the approximately 53-lot community in mid-March.

Two homes in the vicinity were completely destroyed, he said, adding that 3 feet of water were left in his garage and 6 inches in his home. In fact, he and his partner, Shawn Shonerd, are still living out of a camper next to the property while their home is under repair.

The road to recovery for Bellwood Lakes residents will take time, but the endeavor is well underway, he said. One of the primary concerns now, and one of the major headaches plaguing the 20-or-so families who call the community home is the colossal beating the lake’s roads took.

“We had cars that could have fit in some of those holes,” Bauer said during an interview with The Banner-Press.

In an effort to secure funds to make substantial repairs, Bauer and a team of other lake dwellers formed a GoFundMe account and also decided to host a benefit to offset some of the sizable expense. On Saturday, a Show & Shine Benefit was held in downtown Rising City. Twenty-four trucks, cars and motorcycles competed in three classes while more than 100 in attendance perused the collection of classic hardware.

In addition, about 100-150 people purchased hamburger lunches and many, many more participated by purchasing tickets for a prize raffle. In total, $4,200 was raised from the Show & Shine and additional dollars were collected through the GoFundMe account, Bauer said.

Making the fundraiser happen was a collaborative effort, Bauer said, adding that several Columbus-area businesses participated by donating raffle items and also selling raffle tickets out of their businesses.

“We were happy to help out,” said Paul Graham, owner of Graham’s Upholstery, one business selling raffle tickets. “They took a lot of damage out there, and this is an easy thing for us to do to help.”

Currently, Bellwood Lakes residents with properties adjacent to the Platte River are navigating down glorified trails comprised of sand and dirt, Bauer said. Previous funds raised enabled some community members to purchase rock that will fill in the weathered terrain. The project is contracted to start around June 10.

Leading up to more significant repairs, residents have been forced to lug substantial amounts of sand from a nearby location to fill in the holes, followed by capping that sand with dirt so travel is possible. This, however, hasn’t been enough to get several basic services back into the community.

“Right now we still don’t have trash service, and the gas company (Frontier Co-op) won’t come down because they are scared of what will happen to their trucks,” Bauer said. “So now some homes are running on propane and electric heaters.”

Much of the equipment being used to treat the roads have been donated, but the money raised from the fundraiser will continue being funneled toward material purchase.

“The people who are running the machines are basically running them for free,” Bauer said. “Not charging for time or anything. We are fortunate to have a lot of blue collar guys out here who don’t mind running machinery for an extra 40 hours once they leave their normal jobs.”

Fortunately, the roads at Bellwood Lakes are now passable, but further improvements are now on the horizon. Bauer noted that people’s generosity will make a big difference in regard to completing the project and making sure it’s completed in an effective manner.

“We just want to make sure it’s done right,” Bauer said. “We can’t take the chance of someone getting stuck, or worse.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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