Margaretville citizens mull flood mitigation options

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By Joe Moskowitz
The Margaretville Rising Community Committee held a fourth and final public hearing Monday evening.
The committee, chaired by Glen Faulkner and Carol O’Beirne, has spent months doing everything it can to get the public involved in the process, and the effort seems to have paid off spectacularly.
The public involvement so impressed the state that New York is increasing the money it is giving the village for flood recovery from $3 million to $6 million.
The meeting, held at the Catskill Mountain Christian Center, was largely a session to talk about what had already been done. Various members of the committee spoke about the recommended projects and why the committee felt they were important.

Bridge Street ideas
Committee member Peg Ellsworth said that perhaps the most important project may the one that can’t be completed. It is a $200,000 study to determine just what can be done to limit the effects of flooding in the Bridge Street area as flooding there contributes to much of the flood damage in the rest of the village. The state’s deadlines, and the massive scope of such a project, would make it impossible to do everything that needs to be done at this time.
But there are other items, such as rebuilding the Bull Run culvert under Main Street, work to prevent flooding of Scott’s Brook, renovation to the Middleton Hardenburgh Fire Department and Village of Margaretville Public Works building, and helping homeowners with their flood mitigation issues, that were among the recommendations sent to the state for consideration.
Lori DuBord, regional director of New York  Rising Community, said that the state is now considering which proposals meet the flood mitigation criteria, if the cost estimates are accurate, and which ones will do the most good. The state will then send its recommendations back to the committee which will then turn them over to the village board.
With $6 million to spend, Faulkner said that the projects, if all were approved, would cost more than $8 million.
The committee started with the state’s commitment of $3 million but that amount was doubled as the result of community outreach. State officials say a video produced by the media class at Margaretville Central School students  may have been the greatest reason the village got the extra $3 million.
Not only did the governor see it, but the crowd at the hearing also saw it, so will everyone who goes to the New York Rising Community website. It is the featured video. Bill Burnell of Tetra Tech, the company the state hired to help Margaretville, said other states are looking at New York’s Rising Community Program as an example. And when they look, they will see the work of Christine Stickle’s media class at Margaretville Central School.