Editorial: Fill out important Mohawk River flooding survey

Information will help determine Mohawk River flood-mitigation measures and funding for solutions.
Ingersoll Avenue in Schenectady's Stockade neighborhood after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
Ingersoll Avenue in Schenectady's Stockade neighborhood after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

As officials prepare to set new policy and ask for funding to address the problems associated with flooding along the Mohawk River, the public has an opportunity to define the course of action.

They can do it by taking a few minutes of their time to complete online surveys that seek their solutions and ask them what solutions they’d accept.

Flooding of the Mohawk affects everyone in our region, particularly when ice jams and tropical storms descend on the region. The problem is not confined just to residents of the low-lying historic Stockade neighborhood in Schenectady, but affects residents near the flood plain and all taxpayers, who’ll have to fund solutions.  

As of Wednesday’s second of three workshops designed to address the problem, only 25 people had filled out surveys, including just 16 homeowners.

Just like what happens when very few people show up to vote in an election, those who don’t participate in this survey are ceding their input to a handful of people who took the initiative.

Filling out the surveys will be worth the time it takes to complete them. 

There are two surveys — one just for people who own property in the Stockade area and another for general comments.

The one for property owners will help officials understand the direct impacts of flooding and help determine if certain properties might be eligible for assistance. Both surveys will help officials evaluate the various alternative solutions and better inform decision-makers about what options the public supports.

Both surveys start off with a summary of what’s being planned as far as flood-mitigation strategy.

The 42-question survey for Stockade owners then asks detailed questions about their properties, including square footage and configuration. It asks residents about flooding assistance they’ve received and damage they’ve suffered; what mitigation measures they’d consider (selling their property, having it moved or its elevation raised, nothing at all); what programs owners might be interested in; and what concerns and questions they might have. Many of the questions have space for survey-takers to elaborate on their comments.

The general survey is just four questions, two of which are open-ended questions inviting people to share their knowledge of the situation and offer solutions and concerns.

To fill out either survey, go to https://www.stockaderesilience.com/ and click the blue box near the top that says, “Complete an important survey!” Paper surveys are available at Schenectady City Hall.

Filling out one of these surveys will help guide officials as they prepare the mitigation plans and seek funding for solutions.

People always complain that they don’t have a say in how government operates and the decisions that are made.

This is your chance to have just that. 

Don’t waste the opportunity.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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