Mystic - Local businesses and tourism operators came to the aid of their Misquamicut brethren Tuesday, pledging more than $57,000 in donations to help sustain the Westerly beach community's comeback from Superstorm Sandy.
Joyce Resnikoff, co-owner of Olde Mistick Village, and restaurateur Jon Kodama hosted the group at Go Fish Restaurant.
"Twenty years ago, when we formed Mystic Coast and Country, I was told by the state, 'You've got to have Misquamicut and Westerly involved,'" said Resnikoff, a longtime advocate of Mystic-area tourism. "Well, a member of our family is in trouble, and we haven't done anything on this side."
Resnikoff then announced that she and Steve Coan, president and chief executive officer of Mystic Aquarium's parent company, had each agreed to contribute $10,000 to a fundraising campaign waged by the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce.
Jody Dyer, owner The Inn at Mystic, said she, too, would write a check for $10,000, as did a representative of the Bob Valenti auto dealerships. Mohegan Sun pledged a $5,000 contribution. Mystic Seaport and Foxwoods Resort Casino pledged unspecified amounts.
Lisa Konicki, the chamber's executive director, said the chamber has provided grants to 29 businesses damaged in the storm, which devastated a two-mile stretch of beach last October.
Prior to Tuesday, the chamber had raised $177,000 for the cause, she said, and hopes to raise as much as $100,000 at a charity ball The Ocean House in Watch Hill is hosting Feb. 23. Tickets for the gala are $125 apiece.
The chamber had earlier announced a fundraising goal of $400,000.
Some 80 percent of the Misquamicut homes and businesses damaged in the storm have yet to receive the insurance payments due them, Konicki said. At stake are 500 jobs, more than 100 hotel rooms, hundreds of cottages and $9.3 million worth of seasonal business in Misquamicut alone, she said.
Misquamicut businesses expect to be operating before Memorial Day, Konicki said.
Also pledging contributions Tuesday were: Regan Enterprises, $2,500; Chelsea Groton Bank, $2,500; Mystic Marriott Hotel, $2,500; Wells Fargo Financial Services, $2,000; A. Michael Slosberg, owner of United Builders Supply, $1,000; United Builders Supply, $1,000; and Gray Goose Cookery, $500.