Weather Updates

Aurora’s Water Street bookstore, theater flood

AURORA — It’s one of the perils of being located next to the Fox River.

Downtown’s Culture Stock bookstore and Riverfront Playhouse on Water Street are under water, volunteers said Thursday.

Tim Curtis, who serves on the Playhouse’s Board of Directors, said with the overnight rain, he figured the basement would be flooded. At last count, there were 18 inches of water in the basement.

“It’s the kind of thing that happens with a 100-year-old building that’s limestone that was built on the river itself,” he said of the theater at 11-12 Water St.

Fellow volunteers will prep upstairs floor space for drying sets and other items once the water recedes.

“There is a sump pump down there,” he said of the basement. “If it starts to catch up, we’ll start the bleaching and drying process.”

Because of the flood, the RiverFront Playhouse will postpone opening it’s next show, “I’ll Be Back Before Midnight,” for at least one week. They are between shows right now.

“Fortunately, it’s not the worst time. We’ve had it happen opening week,” Curtis said. But “an awful lot” of set pieces were being stored in the basement, he said.

“If we can save (the sets), we can save them. If not, we’ll be in need of donations,” he said.

At Culture Stock, Board President Adam Bracero said a fellow board member woke up to an e-mail from a city official who feared the building at 43 E. Galena Blvd. would flood.

“I was two blocks away, so I ran down there,” Bracero said. As of Thursday morning, there was more than 12 inches of water in the bookstore’s basement, where the non-profit stores hundreds of donated used books.

“Water keeps coming in through even the windows in the basement,” he said. “I’m kind of numb just trying to make sure we’re doing everything we can.”

But right now, it’s just a lot of waiting.

“We don’t know the expense of the damage until we clean up,” Bracero said.

Curtis agreed.

“There’s really nothing we can do until the river settles,” he said. “We have a lovely view of the river out our basement windows — until it comes up to our windows.”

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