The Rye NY Rising Committee, along with members of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and the principal of one of the consulting teams hired by the State, held a well-organized public meeting at the library Tuesday night.
The Rye NY Rising Committee, along with members of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and the principal of one of the consulting teams hired by the State, held a well-organized public meeting at the library Tuesday night. After a Power Point presentation by Jason Hellendrung, Principal of Sasaki Associates, a planning and design firm hired by the State, residents were encouraged to go to the various stations set up around the Community Room, where facilitators had comment cards on which they could share their ideas on making Rye a more storm-resilient place.
Community input is a big part of Gov. Cuomo’s NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. Rye is one of over 100 communities in the state chosen to receive assistance and funding for flood mitigation and improvement projects. Under this initiative, the governor’s goal is to empower towns severely damaged by storms in the last several years to “develop a comprehensive and innovative recovery plan.”
All summer long the Rye team has been assembling a plan of action with the help of experts and Suzanne Barclay, the Regional lead from GOSR. The Rye Committee, co-chaired by Holly Kennedy and Bernie Althoff, who have served on Rye’s Flood Coalition for a number of years, has established goals and strategies. They’ve also compiled an inventory of state and federal assistance and previous work by City consultants.
At the meeting, one resident asked how far the $3 million in funding that Rye is eligible for would go. There was no ready answer. It was noted that the recent Sluice Gate project at Bowman Dam cost approximately $2.3 million.
“All the projects will go through a sieve,” said Hellendrung. “We’ll look at what are the best long-term projects, the ones that offer the most resiliency.”
Barclay said one of the best things to come out of the extensive process is “greater awareness of the watershed, which doesn’t respect geo-political boundaries.”
“Is Harrison part of this?” asked one neighbor. No one seemed to know. A Rye resident who lives near Beaver Swamp Brook on the border with Harrison said they need to be, because Harrison’s “remediation” of the Brook is responsible for increased flooding in Rye.
At one station, a group of residents from Milton Harbor House was busily filling out comment cards. “We hope that the drain at the end of Milton will be resized,” said Arthur Stampleman. “And we have to find a way to prevent sump pump discharge from emptying into the sewers.”
Committee member Josh Nathan summed up their group’s assignment: “looking for the best ways to spend money from the federal government.” He remarked that Rye has already done a lot of planning. “The consultant will integrate all the information we have on hand in the final assessment.
The sweet spot, the big focal point is along Blind Brook.”
The next public meeting is October 25. All are encouraged to attend.
— Robin Jovanovich