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Multi-day Stockade flood workshop begins Monday in Schenectady

Multi-day Stockade flood workshop begins Monday in Schenectady

Feedback sought from homeowner surveys
Multi-day Stockade flood workshop begins Monday in Schenectady
Ice jams stacked up in January on the banks of the Mohawk River at the foot of Ingersoll Avenue in the Stockade.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

SCHENECTADY — A three-day workshop designed to brief residents on a long-term strategy to relieve flooding in the city's Stockade neighborhood will begin this week. 

The first event is Monday at 7 p.m. at the First Reformed Church at 8 N. Church St. 

Stakeholders will present a report outlining recent research conducted as part of the effort to prevent flooding in the historic neighborhood.

“A lot of data has just been completed in the last few weeks,” Schenectady Director of Development Kristin Diotte said on Friday.

Also online: Editorial: Flooding workshops are vital

Researchers previously deployed drones to survey the hydrology of the Mohawk River and surrounding floodplain. 

Each session will tackle different elements of the study.

Monday’s events will also include a public discussion on community values and how they should be reflected in the preliminary conceptual design alternatives, which will be presented on Wednesday.

Designers will also host an open house designed to offer more insight on possible solutions. 

Joining the city as stakeholders are Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects, SRG Architects and River Street Planning and Development. 

A workshop on Thursday will recap the program, review public input and discuss the next steps. 

There is no public event on April 2.

MULTI-PRONGED EFFORT

The Stockade Flood Mitigation Project is being conducted in phases. 

Once the $1.2 million analysis is complete, FEMA will release $7.5 million for the second phase, which includes the construction of new infrastructure.

One of the workshop's main goals is to bring data and research together and try to build consensus around a master plan, said Margaret Irwin, a project manager at River Street, who offered an overview at a conference at Union College recently.

All options are on the table, from constructing flood walls and berms, deploying gates during flood events or elevating buildings. 

“The city has absolutely no preconceived notions of what the right mitigation measure is,” Irwin said. “It’s committed to open, transparent and continuous community education and community engagement in order to get the widest base of information possible."

Irwin warned the final sum of $7.5 million isn’t a lot of money for flood mitigation and its disbursement will likely be staggered over time. 

“We need to figure out the best practical solution for use of those dollars,” Irwin said.

Officials have said they hope to settle on final decision by the end of the year. 

Climate change must also be considered when selecting a final option, Irwin said. 

“We need to tie all of our recommendations to an understanding of climate change, and that can be one of the trickiest things to do, reaching an agreement on what those standards are,” Irwin said.

SURVEYS WANTED

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

There are no case studies of historic districts as important as the Stockade going through a process of resilience, planning and remediation, Irwin said. 

The long-standing calls for a permanent fix has generated intense interest locally, nationally and even internationally, she said.

“This is a project that’s going to be watched," Irwin said. "It’s an opportunity for all of us to set a benchmark."

Public input and feedback from property owners within the Stockade Historic District continues to be critical.

Surveys were issued to property owners earlier this month.

“Completing (surveys) is absolutely essential to our best understanding,” Irwin said. “So if everybody could just rally the troops around that, it would be very important.”

Surveys are available at https://www.stockaderesilience.com/. Hard copies are also available at City Hall.

Also online: Editorial: Flooding workshops are vital

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