J.M.W. Turner's "Chichester Canal" at the Tate Gallery, London

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Grant money for new Shandaken Town Hall will allow payment of debt to NYC DEP

A story from the Daily Freeman.

The Catskill Watershed Corp. has awarded Shandaken a $114,000 grant to buy land for a new Town Hall.

The better news is the town already owns the land and can use part of the money to repay a debt to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The town applied for the grant over the summer. The watershed corporation’s board of directors voted in favor it earlier this month.

The town now can move ahead with securing the property, where the voter-rejected Phoenicia sewer system was to be created, and can use $70,000 of the grant to pay back the New York City department.

Before the sewer project was shot down by voters, the town used $70,000 from the department to buy the property. When the project was rejected, the department wanted its money back. The town hoped to sell the property and use the proceeds to repay the environmental department, but a buyer could not be found.

Of the $114,000 awarded by the Catskill Watershed Corp., $105,000 is for the land and $9,000 is for legal and closing costs. The money was authorized under the corporation’s Flood Hazard Mitigation Implementation Program, which helps move to safer ground such “critical facilities” as firehouses, schools, town hall and water and wastewater systems.

The new Shandaken municipal complex is to house the town’s government offices and highway and ambulance departments

Part of the town’s current municipal complex, on state Route 28 in the hamlet of Allaben, was inundated by Esopus Creek floodwaters during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The town then was forced to use an alternate location for day-to-day government operations and to operate a command center for post-flood responses.

The 3.2-acre Allaben site has been designated a Special Flood Hazard Area, with the Highway Department garage actually located in the floodway.

A recently completed Local Flood Analysis for the Shandaken hamlets of Mount Tremper and Phoenicia recommended relocating the Town Hall and highway garage to the 4-acre parcel that was to house the Phoenicia sewer system.

As part of the state-funded NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, the town engaged Latham-based engineering firm C.T. Male Associates to conduct a feasibility analysis about the planned relocation. The analysis is to be completed in 2017, and the Town Hall move, also financially aided by NY Rising, is anticipated by the end of 2018.

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