Woods Brook Project Discussed, New Faces Welcomed
At the January 8 Hoosick Town Board Meeting Supervisor Mark Surdam talked about a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $900,000 which was recently awarded to the Town and the Village of Hoosick Falls. The grant was announced December 21 and was described in the January 5 edition of the Eastwick Press, but Surdam brought it up because this was the first meeting of the Town Board since the grant was announced.
The application for this grant was approved at an emergency meeting called by Surdam just days after the July 3, 2017 rainstorm which devastated many of the houses near the underground route of Woods Brook through the Village. Woods Brook used to run through the middle of the Village but at some point was put underground, running through a series of culverts and aqueducts. These may have been undersized even when they were first built, but they are definitely inadequate at the present time, as the July 3 rainstorm demonstrated. Surdam said there have been flooding problems in the area of Woods Brooks pretty much all his life and he is very pleased that Town and Village now have an opportunity to finally solve the problem.
The $900,000 grant will be for work on Woods Brook upstream from the Village, to disperse and slow the water before it arrives in the downtown area. Many of these measures were designed in a study done in June (before the big rainstorm) by Barton and Loguidice, involving widening the brook, creating wetlands and heightening culverts to create a greater capacity to hold and absorb water prior to its arrival in the downtown area. The centerpiece of that study was a mile-long “diversion culvert” which would steer water away from the Village and shunt it into the Hoosick River at a spot somewhere between the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street plant and the Little League fields. That project was estimated to cost $5 million or more and was apparently judged to be infeasible because of its enormous cost (which even the consultant proposing it called “a boatload of money”).
The upstream measures covered by this CDBG grant will be accompanied by another grant which will pay to acquire and demolish some of the buildings built on top of or near the path of Woods Brook in the downtown area, and design of “a new restoration project to daylight the Woods Brook and install flood plains and natural stream features on the site of the flood damaged properties.” The State hopes in a later phase to find more grant money to eventually build a park along Woods Brook to turn it into a community asset rather than the liability that it has been until now.
Surdam said there will now be a lot of meetings held and more detailed design work done by the Town and Village’s engineering consultants as they plan the exact scope of the project over the coming months (or maybe years).
Surdam welcomed new Councilmen Gerry McAuliffe (Sr) and Bill Hanselman, and new Town Clerk Holli Cross. He also congratulated Civicure for its award of $150,000 in CDBG funding to get them started on the major project of renovating the Wood Block building.
Surdam also discussed the ongoing evaluation of the need for Technical Assistance Services in relation to the PFOA cleanup. These services can provide education and advocacy for local citizens who want to get involved in commenting on decisions related to the PFOA cleanup. Consultant Kirby Webster is interested in talking to local citizens who would like to have input on how the cleanup is done and learn more about the options available and process of the coming cleanup. Flyers about this program are available at the Town Clerk’s office in the Armory or at the Village Clerk’s office in the Municipal Building. Kirby Webster can be contacted at 802-227-7290.
In other news:
• New Town Clerk Holli Cross said she will be posting new hours soon, including Saturday morning hours, and she is working on getting the Town Clerk’s office set up to accept credit cards.
• Now that former Deputy Supervisor Jeff Wysocki has moved on to County government, Town Councilman Eric Sheffer has been appointed Deputy Supervisor. Sheffer spoke again about his efforts to restore the “Welcome to Hoosick” sign that is posted at the corner of Routes 7 and 22 near the Route 7 bridge over the Hoosic River. He said he spoke to Barbara Sussman about what it would take to get permission to use Grandma Moses’ name or imagery on signs. They have made such a request from the New York gallery that controls the Grandma Moses rights to see if they would be willing to allow the Town to use the name or an image for a nominal fee, and are waiting for a response.
• The Town is making its annual budgeted payment on its debt from the pool project of about $100,000, and the remaining debt after that payment is about $230,000. The Board authorized Supervisor Surdam to sign a Bond Anticipation Note for $230,000 sometime this month.
• Town Highway Superintendent Bill Shiland attended the meeting in a wheelchair, as he is still recovering from a fall last month. He said another member of his crew is about to undergo hip surgery and will also be laid up for a while. He asked the Board for permission to hire occasional part-timers as necessary to keep his crew going while short-handed. The Board agreed, but asked him to let them know on an ongoing basis how much additional labor is being used so that they can keep on top of it from a budgetary standpoint.