To the residents of Thorington Road in Schoharie County, the new town of Broome Supervisor William Smith III has a request: Please be patient.
A section of road just off Route 145 has been closed since it was decimated by the impact of Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. Smith, who was elected to the post
in November and took office Jan. 1, says the road will be fixed this year.
“Everyone has access to their property, and that’s all we have to provide by law,” said Smith. “But it will be fixed this work season. People want us to tell them that it will be fixed by next Tuesday, and we can’t. It’s a seasonal road. We just had snow up there last week, so they’re going to have to be patient.”
James Pauli and a few other homeowners on Thorington Road feel as if they been patient for more than two years now. Pauli is leading a group of people — there are less than a dozen homes on the road — that has taken the town to court over the matter.
“We’re all pretty frustrated,” said Pauli, who lives much of the year just outside Syracuse and spends his summers in Broome, a small Schoharie County town just south of Middleburgh. “They say they’re going to fix it but they never do. We’ve been waiting almost three years now, so we got a lawyer.”
Thorington Road is a gravel-and-dirt road that heads eastward, uphill from Route 145. At certain sections it is little more than a one-lane road, and near Pauli’s home — about halfway up the hill to Vaughn Hill Road — is where a large section of gravel, dirt and earth was washed away by Irene.
The town did do some repair work during the second summer after the storm, allowing Pauli to reach his property from the other end of Thorington Road. But that detour takes nearly 20 minutes longer than the short drive up Thorington Road from Rt. 145.
Pauli’s neighbor on Thorington Road, Loreto Calcagni, has to drive nearly 10 miles out of his way to get to his home.
“Two-thirds of my property is not accessible because of the condition of Thorington Road,” said Calcagni. “It’s been extremely frustrating, and that’s why we got an attorney involved. They kept tellling us they were going to fix it and they never did.”
Calcagni pointed out that his main gripe is with the previous town supervisor, not Smith.
“They don’t plow and they don’t pick up garbage up here, so I’m wondering what I’m paying my taxes for,” said Calcagni. “But I would like to emphasize how lax the old administration was, not these new people. It was the previous group that kept procrastinating.”
Smith said he doesn’t expect much to come of the group’s legal action.
“I feel like they are wasting their money with an attorney because it is going to get fixed,” said Smith. “The previous town officials did do substantial work up there, and they had an awful lot of work to do elsewhere. Everybody has hardships with this kind of natural disaster, so again, I would just say to those people, ‘Be patient.’ ”
Pauli’s family has owned their property on Thorington Road since the 1930s.
“It’s a great little place up in the woods and the mountains,” said Pauli. “We love it there, but it seems like they’ve had enough time to repair a road that was washed out by Hurricane Irene. We all pay taxes, and they have gone up, but nothing is being done for us.”