‘Capitola Village Open’: Focus on Recovery, Back to Business in Hard-hit Coastal Areas

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KGO) — Around Santa Cruz County, the focus is on recovery and the reopening of businesses after recent storms ripped through oceanfront properties and left others in the dark for days.

Despite the heavy rain, many in the hardest-hit coastal towns are urging visitors to come, shop and support.

On Friday night, the band playing at the Cork and Fork Capitola said, “This is my business! Business is good!” Many rhymes in Capitola Village will soon become true.

When there were few people in the city, it brought a good view.

MORE: High surf warning prompts evacuation warnings for coastal area of ​​Santa Cruz County.

But, owner Kathy Bentti said, “You feel like a whiplash, you feel like you can’t hold your breath.”

Years after the outbreak, he describes battling weeks of bad weather. She still wants to make a difference. Bent is raising money for Santa Cruz County’s disaster fund and has set up a home for businesses that rely on the hardest hit.

“This makes me cry,” she told ABC7 News. “A lot of musicians who play here play there. So, I feel a sense of responsibility to help and provide a place for people to come.”

The overall goal is to get people to come. Many feel there is a misconception that the village was closed after seeing extensive damage to waterfront properties. However, a posted sign reads loudly and “Capitola Village is open.”

Video: Hurricane Damage: Here’s a before and after look at the hardest hit areas in Capitola, Santa Cruz.

“We had a BIA business meeting this morning with a lot of business owners and that was very moving. Love is meeting everyone and making sure everyone is safe,” said Julie Monnet, owner of Monnet Salon Capitola. “And where do we go from here?”

Kathleen French, owner of Catalina by the Sea, added, “As a business owner, you don’t see this very often. A lot of times, you might be in an organization, or you might be too spread out. This is a tight-knit community and we’re all just friends here.” And the relationships we build are incredible.

On Friday, France walked through the village with a microphone and a karaoke machine, visiting shops that had reopened.

In Aptos, restoration is an effort being undertaken in part by the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. They have launched a fund focused on the long-term support of the iconic Seacliff State Beach.

MORE: Storm cleanup, concern as coastal towns in Santa Cruz County brace for more rain

“The devastation is unbelievable, but it’s still going on,” Bonnie Hawley, executive director of the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, told ABC7 News. “The storm is coming. Therefore, it is the first days to know what the price will be for the maintenance of this park. But we want to be there and provide a way for the community to support it over time.”

The decision, from the hard-hit people of Santa Cruz County, only underscores the community’s unwavering resilience.

“Through this storm and still through Covid, I’ve seen people really come together who are dealing with their own devastation and tragedy,” said Shannon Myers from Catalina by the Sea. “And just go out to other people, ‘Hey! How are you? What do you need? How can I help?’

Click here to visit the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks fundraising effort.

To visit the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund fundraising effort, click here.

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