April 21, 2013

Sometimes, weather wins

MALONE — Flooding on Lower Park Street here is nothing new.

This time, in late January, a 4,000-foot ice jam clogged the Salmon River, sending frazil ice and water across lawns, into basements and straight down the street, flooding properties on both sides of Lower Park.

The homes heaviest hit were from 181 to 353 Lower Park, where a garage was ripped from its foundation by the rushing water, and on past 377 Lower Park, where an adult home is situated near the bridge at the intersection with Brand Road.


The Town of Malone says the flooding, which repeats almost every year, was caused by Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., now National Grid, when it released massive amounts of sediment into the Salmon River in 1997.

But according to Dave Werner, district manager for Niagara Mohawk from 1975 to 1994, inundation along Lower Park had been happening since at least 1958.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked on the river that year between Ballard Mill and Cady Road, which is today called Brand Road.

That 1958 mitigation effort came up at a work session of the Franklin County Office of Civil Defense in 1982, as that agency — the precursor to County Emergency Services — was trying to get a handle on Lower Park Street flooding as well.


The latest flooding, which necessitated several orders by Town Supervisor Howard Maneely and closed a section of Lower Park for almost a month, prompted efforts for a solution that would move people out of harm’s way.

Homeowners will meet with State Office of Emergency Services soon about a mitigation plan that may mean a buyout of their flood-damaged properties.

Ten owners on Lower Park Street will be invited to an informational meeting to be held by the end of the month, Maneely said.

The town submitted information to the state on property assessments for the impacted properties to get the process going, which can’t be soon enough for some owners, who said they have had enough of dealing with chronic flooding.

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