Supermarket's location on CWT flood agenda


By Jay Braman Jr.
Officials with the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District want people thinking about flooding.
Sure. The streams are low right now and it looks like there won’t be a hurricane this year like there have been for the past two, but according to Graydon Dutcher, the district’s Coordinator of Stream Programs, now is the time to be thinking about how to prepare.
Dutcher was on hand at the meeting of the Coalition of Watershed Towns (CWT) Monday night in Margaretville to talk about flood mitigation efforts in Delaware County.

Forget emotions
His advice to those in attendance was to take emotions out of the mix when deciding what to do and use science instead.
Such remarks came in response to concerns aired about the future of the Freshtown Marketplace in Margaretville. The store was heavily damaged during Hurricane Irene and remained closed for 10 months while repairs were made.
Dutcher was asked what his department thinks should be done to protect the facility, or, if protection is not possible, then what could be done to move the store to another location in Margaretville away from the flood zone.
Such questions are timely. At present, a group of local stakeholders, operating under the umbrella of New York Rising, are in the process of gathering information from the community about how best to use a $3 million grant to mitigate flooding.
Carol O’Beirne, executive director of the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, is a co-chair of the Margaretville NY Rising Committee. She reports that, at this time, the group is still collecting anecdotal information from people in the Margaretville community and that, yes, the future of Freshtown is a concern that keeps coming up.

No talks yet
The committee has not yet had discussions with the owners of the supermarket, she said, but she expects to soon. O’Beirne also said that Freshtown is not the only point of concern for those that have spoken to the committee.
While the anecdotal information will be used to point flood mitigation engineers in certain directions, Dutcher said that it is not enough.
There are many things that he and others “think” should be done, he said, but most critical is that hi tech modeling be done to give science based predictions of what will happen both up and downstream of any proposed mitigation project.
The good news is that such modeling only takes a short amount of time, so engineers can examine all sorts of possibilities before deciding on a course of action.