McKownville Drainage District gains support

Guilderland eyes levying taxes for stormwater management repairs in hamlet

— Twice before, McKownville residents have attempted to form a new drainage district to tackle the hamlet’s stormwater problems. But town officials aren’t treading water anymore.

The Guilderland Town Board on Tuesday, April 2, discussed its map, plan and report for establishing the McKownville Drainage District, which were drawn up after town officials were urged by residents to revisit the issue. The Delaware Engineering report estimates completing all needed repairs across four target areas will cost a total of $6.7 million. Town officials plan to establish the district to tax McKownville residents and complete repairs over time.

“Over the years, we have applied for grants and funding to try and get some of these improvements done to alleviate some of the issues that we have had in McKownville,” Town Supervisor Kenneth Runion said. “The problems arise mainly on the northern side of Route 20 and those homes in there were built many years ago, probably in the 1920s or ’30s.”

The town has $500,000 available for McKownville projects, which was made available through Sen. Neil Breslin as a member item. The drainage district designation also allows the town apply for additional federal and state grant opportunities.

Runion added handling capital projects in-house could help reduce the total cost of the repairs.

The plan chiefly involves creating new catch basins, adding residential sump pump connection and methods to redirect stormwater to several downstream detention basins. Some streets would also be milled to lower its elevation to improve drainage.

Don Reeb, president of the McKownville Improvement Association, said more than 400 of the hamlet’s 600 residents signed a petition asking for the drainage district. Of the people reached, Reeb said about 25 people expressed opposition.

The drainage district would cover only parts of McKownville, Runion said. The district would roughly be limited to the area north of Western Avenue and to the commercial properties on the southern side of Western Avenue.

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