February 2, 2013

River recedes; danger lingers

MALONE — Lower Park Street could reopen to traffic on Monday after flood waters closed it down for nearly two weeks.

Town of Malone Highway Department crews were working Friday to shore up the shoulder of the street and repair pavement in places where thick ice and swift-moving water caused damage.

Officials were concerned that sub-zero temperatures expected overnight Friday might bring the return of more frazil ice, which is floating ice with the same consistency of slush, that could freeze and again clog the river.

Both situations prompted a delay in opening the road until 7 a.m. Monday, even though the river’s water level had gone down and no longer flooded the street.


Town Supervisor Howard Maneely said the Village Board is allowing a few homeowners with compromised well water on Lower Park to tap into the village’s water main, which passes by the area and connects to the state prisons off Brand Road and Bare Hill Road.

The owners will have meters installed and pay for their usage, but the connection fee is being waived.

Mayor Todd LePine said the connection fees can be as high as $2,000 because there is no water district established in that area.

“They’re not in the village, but we felt it was something we could do to help,” he said. “It’s rough for the people down there — the trustees felt it was a good idea because the wells have been under water. They haven’t been tested yet, but they are probably contaminated.”

He said that with ongoing discussions about shared services and consolidation, meant to bring savings for taxpayers, it might make sense to create a water district to include Lower Park and drill a third well for village users.

But, for now, the few homes needing help will be added to ensure they have safe drinking water, LePine said.

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