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Storm relief could pick up pool house tab

Bethlehem moves to put FEMA money towards alternate use, demolish bridge

The bridge over the Onesquethaw Creek after it was damaged by Hurricane Irene in August of 2011.

The bridge over the Onesquethaw Creek after it was damaged by Hurricane Irene in August of 2011.

— Councilwoman Joann Dawson said she would like to see a more detailed plan presented to the board with more definite numbers before the item was voted one, but Penman said waiting could affect the town’s ability to receive the funds.

Councilman Jeffrey Kuhn asked if there were other projects that are more of higher priority. Penman said there are, but none of them match FEMA’s criteria for use of the funds as much as the roof work.

“The pool house jumped to the top of the list because it’s something we have to do that’s underfunded,” said Penman.

The board eventually approved using the funds for the alternative project. Councilman Kyle Kotary was not at the meeting because of a family commitment.

Penman said the department would soon begin the State Environmental Quality Review process for the project. Although the bridge was built in 1912, the state said there would be no historical effect if the bridge were demolished.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation have been working creating a staging area and parking lot for public fishing access, since the creek is used for trout fishing. Penman said those plans would be incorporated into the project upon DEC approval.

Other repairs to the creek call for its realignment after the banks shifted about 350 feet during Hurricane Irene. The embankments for the bridge will also need to be stabilized after it is demolished.

“If the repairs aren't made it could cause further damage to the creek,” said Penman.

Penman said the DEC has limited when the town can work in the stream because of the trout population. Portions of the project cannot be started until June and work needs to stop by September.

“So we have a tight window to get to bid and make the needed improvement,” he said.

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Comments

Freddie 2 years, 6 months ago

Good for the town; but bad for the taxpayer and the people really in need. Minus points for FEMA on this.

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