Meeting swamped by flood talk

JOHNSTOWN – Flooding was a main topic discussed by the Common Council on Tuesday, from repairing broken culverts in the future to more immediate action required to construct a drainage ditch on private property.

During his monthly report to the council at City Hall, City Engineer Christopher Vose noted a hydraulic and hydrologic engineering report, or H&H report, was done for the city by Greenman-Pedersen of Babylon, Suffolk County. The report was recently completed and sent to the city.

The council in September 2014 hired the firm for a study involving Comrie Creek, Hale Creek, Hall Creek, Caleb Creek and their watersheds, in addition to a study of drainage issues on Glebe Street and East Fourth Avenue.

Much flooding has been reported in the city over the years, and city officials hope to use engineering data to address future issues.

“Some of the heavier rains we had opened up our eyes to our flooding issues,” Vose said.

Vose mentioned a successful $500,000 state grant landed by the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District on behalf of the city to do culvert work to help alleviate flooding problems. One of the biggest problems is in the area of 107 E. Main St, he said.

“We’ll be able to fund a lot of the issues the H&H [report] brought up,” he said.

Unfortunately, Vose said the city won’t be able to access grant funding and finally get to do culvert work until the 2017 construction season. He said the hope is to fix deteriorating culverts at East Main Street, North Chase Street and South Chase Street at that time. He said the desire is to do two or three a year afterwards, including a culvert at Washington Street and Pleasant Avenue.

Another problem area, Vose said, is at the Fulton County Department of Social Services building on Daisy Lane in the city. He said the nearby creek needs to be separated from a retention pond to quell flooding there.

“We have to have a plan,” said Mayor Michael Julius. “It’s a continuing project.”

The council also took action on a separate flooding issue. The council passed a resolution authorizing Julius to execute an indemnity and hold harmless agreement with Anthony and Linda Abete of 429 N. Perry St. to allow access to their property to construct a nearby drainage ditch. The agreement protects the city legally from work it will do on the private property.

“I just want to thank them for allowing us to do this,” said 2nd Ward Councilwoman Kathi Iannotti.

Significant rainstorms resulted in significant flooding in the backyard of a property at 10 Elmwood Ave., the resolution indicated. The city required access to the Abete property to dig a drainage ditch to alleviate the flooding.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

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