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Stockade homeowners await flood-mitigation update

Stockade homeowners await flood-mitigation update

Forum scheduled for April 1 to 4
Stockade homeowners await flood-mitigation update
4 Washington Ave. in the Stockade being moved in 2017.
Photographer: GAZETTE FILE

SCHENECTADY — Stockade homeowners are awaiting the presentation of a report outlining research conducted as part of the effort to study and ultimately combat flooding in the historic neighborhood. 

Stakeholders recently conducted an inventory of existing conditions, which included the use of drones to survey the hydrology of the Mohawk River and surrounding floodplain. 

The results, among other details of the project, will be revealed at a multi-day workshop on April 1, 3 and 4 at the First Reformed Church at 8 North Church Street from 7 to 9 p.m.

“We’re going to be presenting a lot of data collected,” said Schenectady Development Director Kristin Diotte, who is working with River Street Planning and Development in the up-to $8.7 million flood-mitigation effort.

Each open session will tackle different elements of the long-running project.

This includes an overview and discussion of community values on Monday; presentation of concept alternatives on Wednesday, and review of public input and feedback sessions on Thursday. 

(There is no public event on April 2.)

MULTI-PRONGED EFFORT

The Stockade Resilience Project is being conducted in phases. 

Once the $1.2 million analysis is complete, FEMA will consider giving the city approximately $7.5 million for the second phase, which would include the construction of new infrastructure. 

“I think by the end of the year, we will have come to a conclusion on the solution we’d like to move forward with,” Diotte said.

All options are on the table when it comes to developing a comprehensive flood-mitigation plan, she said, from constructing flood walls and berms, using deployable gates during flood events or elevating buildings. 

“I think it’ll end up being a combination,” Diotte said. “We want to make sure whatever design solutions we move forward with respects the character, preserves the historical nature and creates resilience.” 

Others involved with the project include Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects, and SRG Architects, who will commence a public outreach campaign, including a property owner survey, this month. 

ENGAGEMENT CRITICAL 

The upcoming event follows a public meeting held last October to offer residents a progress report. 

About 60 homes are located in the 100-year floodplain, which is bounded by Front Street, the railroad and Cucumber Alley.

Community engagement is key, Diotte said.

“We’re really going to see how it plays out with the community engagement aspect; what people want to see, and what’s possible with the dollars we have from FEMA.”

Officials will explore more funding opportunities if needed, she said. 

Stockade Association President Carol DeLaMarter said she wanted to learn more about how the Lock 7 dam in Niskayuna may contribute to flooding upstream.

River management should be prioritized, she said, citing the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s intention to spend $500,000 to conduct a flooding and ice jam study for the 147-mile main channel of the Mohawk River to pinpoint high-risk areas.

Susan DuFour lives on Cucumber Alley and owns a home on Ingersoll Avenue.

Any improvements will be welcomed, she said, whether broader efforts to reduce the risk of flooding to strategies targeting specific homes.

As a homeowner, she said, she feels it’s important for city officials to coordinate and communicate with residents — including relaying what resources are available to them, and what the city is doing to protect them during high-risk events.

“I am excited to learn in April what improvements are going to be made,” DuFour said. “I look forward to where (FEMA) is going to spend those funds.”

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