By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Retaining walls, drainage improvements and berms are among the list of flood mitigation projects that are being planned for the city and town of Amsterdam and the town of Florida.
During the final public hearing on the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program held Wednesday at Lynch Literacy Academy, specific projects were highlighted that will be funded through the $9 million in federal disaster recovery money allocated to these municipalities.
"This was a process that the committee helped to plan to make the communities more resilient," said Sarah Crowell, the regional lead for the Department of State. "These are projects that not only protect with flooding but may be a tourist attraction or build the economy."
Crowell said now that the plan is done, the next step is implementation, and policy analysts are reviewing each project to ensure they will be eligible for funding.
"This is not just a plan that is sitting on a shelf," Crowell said. "Get ready to see some shovels in the ground."
Each municipality will get $3 million in funding, but Crowell said the number of projects in the plan purposely exceed that number, in case some projects don't move forward.
Each plan is divided into three sections: proposed projects which are definitely eligible for funding; featured projects; and additional resiliency measures which could be funded in the future.
Nicole Zebrowski, community co-lead and planning arm from Ecology and Environmental Inc., highlighted specific proposed projects in each municipality.
In the city of Amsterdam, the 2011 flooding caused by tropical storms Irene and Lee damaged the storm water infrastructure, and one of the key projects is the Route 5 storm water reconstruction.
The estimated $1 million project involves a study of the sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure, replacement of a catch basin, installation of 100 feet of new storm sewer pipe, lining of 3,500 feet of sanitary sewer pipe, and more.
"This was one of the projects that was developed to improve drainage in key areas prone to flooding," Zebrowski said.
Other proposed projects include purchasing generators to maintain power in city buildings; developing emergency community shelters on the north and south side of the Mohawk River; stabilizing the banks of the South Chuctanunda Creek; reconstructing and reinforcing the retaining wall along Dove Creek near St. Mary's Hospital; relocating the Amtrak train station; demolishing the Carpetland building to provide a gateway park; inspecting and repairing the retaining walls at Bunn Creek and North Chuctanunda Creek.
In the town of Amsterdam, where Irene flooded creeks and homes, primarily in the village of Fort Johnson, one of the priority projects is to restore the retaining wall along the Kayaderosseras Creek, which runs along Old Fort Johnson.
Additional projects include rehabilitating Harrower Dam, stabilizing the Chuctanunda Creek, and creating a 3.4-mile loop bikeway; enhancing storm water conveyance systems to improve drainage on Crouse Drive, Maple Street, Midline Road and Wallins Corners Road to Bunn Creek; assessment of Old Fort Johnson.
In the town of Florida, the majority of the projects are in Fort Hunter, where damage was significant.
One of the priorities is the stabilization and extension of the Fort Hunter berm, which was breached during Irene. The berm may be elevated, and will involve additional studies and surveys.
However, the overall project is expected to reduce the flood risk to approximately 50 residents, several hundred acres of farmland, the Fort Hunter Fire Station, and the Schoharie Crossing State Historic site.
Several other projects are planned, including improved drainage of the Fort Hunter storm water detention pond and Schoharie Crossing; enlarging undersized culverts in 14 locations; acquiring and demolishing abandoned properties, and constructing a public park.
Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said she was excited and relieved to see the projects moving toward implementation.
"After living through the storms of 2011, I am anxious to see hazard mitigation efforts come to fruition. I don't want to see that type of devastation again," she said. "I am ready to get going and I want to see those shovels in the ground."