- Editor's Note: What follows is user-generated news. If you would like to post your news to Patch, for detailed instructions. The following is a press release from the office of the Westchester County Executive.
$9 million in capital projects and expansion of “River Rescue” to target problem areas
First half of Bronx River stabilization project near County Center complete
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced today that $9 million has been designated for seven capital projects to address chronic flooding along the Bronx River and Sound Shore.
In addition, he announced two complementary initiatives:
- expansion of the River Rescue program, a public-private partnership to engage volunteers in removing debris from the Bronx River
- the ongoing restoration of the banks of the Bronx River
“The actions announced today are positive steps in alleviating flooding in some of our biggest problem areas,” said Astorino.
“The causes of flooding in this county are a result of many complex factors that cannot be fixed overnight or without significant capital investments beyond the means of the county. But the county can and must continue to do whatever it can on its own. While I will continue meeting with state and federal officials to advocate for assistance, we will do everything we can at the county level, working with our municipalities, to target achievable projects to reduce and prevent future flooding.”
Four of the seven projects targeted by the Astorino administration for the $9 million in capital funding are along the Bronx River, which allows for speedier approvals because the county owns the property.
The Bronx River projects include:
- Mount Vernon/Yonkers: Oak Street pump station rehabilitation. Cost estimate $450,000 -$500,000
- Yonkers/Eastchester/Scarsdale: Bronx River channel re-alignment and bank stabilization at Garth Woods. Cost estimate $1 million
- Greenburgh: Fisher Lane/Bronx River Parkway storm water wetland restoration and stream bank stabilization. Cost estimate $700,000
- Eastchester/Yonkers: Harney Road vicinity stream bank stabilization and channel modification. Cost estimate to be determined.
Two other projects were identified by local municipalities as priority flood-mitigation projects and proposed to the county for implementation with a local commitment to fund at least 50 percent of the total cost.
The county will fund the balance. They are:
- Village of Larchmont: drainage improvements along Pine Brook at the Boston Post Road (Route 1) crossing. Cost estimate to county $2.3 million;
- City of New Rochelle: Hutchinson River culvert replacement. Cost estimate to county $2.5 million.
One additional project that the county is undertaking is the replacement of a sewer line on Anita Lane in the Village of Mamaroneck. The removal of the center support structure currently in the river will contribute to flood mitigation. Cost estimate is $2 million.
Recently, restoration of the Bronx River west bank, near the County Center, was completed. The project, which is designed to mitigate flooding by reinforcing the embankments, cost $1 million including a county cash share of $87,000 ($514,000 in-kind services credit).
It was conducted and funded in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Restoration of the east bank is now under way. Slated for completion by the end of the summer in 2012, the second phase is being financed with a $350,000 grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, matched with $350,000 from the county.
To build on the earlier success of River Rescue, a public-private project launched last year to help prevent future flooding by cleaning the banks of the Bronx River, the county has deployed ongoing dedicated crews charged with debris removal.
The project has been divided into six sectors along the length of the river and crews will target completion by June, weather permitting. The county is continuing its partnership with the Turf and Landscape Association, which has volunteered services from its commercial landscapers to assist in the removal of debris. Assistance from local municipalities and residents is also being provided in some areas.
White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said: "Flooding does not respect municipal boundaries and that is why it is so important that municipalities and the county work together to address the causes of flooding in our county. Through its clean-up of the Bronx River, Westchester County has provided a direct benefit to the City of White Plains. We appreciate their assistance and we look forward to working with the County on other mutually beneficial flood mitigation initiatives in the future."
"My hope is that the entire Board of Legislators sees the importance of these investments and approves these projects with appropriate haste,” said County Legislator Michael Smith, whose district encompasses part of the Bronx River. “These projects are positive steps in the right direction towards improving the quality of life for many impacted Westchester taxpayers."
"I'm encouraged by the progress that's been made toward real flood mitigation along the Bronx River,” said County Legislator Gordon Burrows. “With this $9 million dollar capital expenditure and the new initiatives that County Executive Astorino announced today, I'm confident that we are taking very real, practical and important steps toward dealing with the problem of flooding in the Bronx River and sound shore basin.
Said County Legislator Sheila Marcotte: "I'm glad for County Executive Astorino's leadership on the issue of chronic flooding that regularly affects thousands of people and costs millions of dollars in damage here in southern Westchester. We can debate and speculate on the causes for the increased instances of flooding we've seen over the years but one thing we can all agree on is that these very practical solutions of clearing out our natural waterways and shoring up our groundwater management systems are important steps to getting the flooding issues under control."