In a continuation of last weeks’ project list, here is one project that will affect many, and several more that are equally significant and are either already underway or are being considered.
1). Late last summer, the Village completed the purchase of the Roto Salt property (the Zach homestead for the last 30+ years. Note: this was the same 30 years ago that the Village expanded last with the purchase of the adjacent Creamery property and eventual removal of buildings). The reason(s) for this purchase were many, but foremost was the need to be able to treat the creek water that flows through the southern end of the property.
Because of the major weather changes that have caused our flooding, and with my previously mentioned DOT project on Rt. 90/Cayuga Street, this is the last chance to affect the quality of the creek water before it enters the lake. Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB’s), Hydrilla, Zebra Mussels and other harmful bodies are fed by nutrient loaded streams, especially after major rainfalls. The Village has a state grant to help with this project. We are currently waiting on a final determination from the DOT to be able to move on with Environmental Engineers in designing a system to filter out most of the nutrients (phosphorous, nitrates) before the stream waters enter the lake.
There are other benefits to this property purchase. When the land is finally Park ready and the fence comes down, there will be a new panoramic view of Frontenac Park. From the southwestern tip in the lake to the old railroad bridge in the north, the view and possibilities will be forever enhanced.
Another part of the equation is the buildings. There is the original Roto Salt office building, retrofitted into a home, which we are evaluating for future use. And….there is the old 28×60 wood storage building. We had originally thought it was of little use and we were looking to salvage what we could, sell the rest and implode and bury what was left. But our engineers had their architect look at it and new ideas are emerging.
Now let me back up a little to the uptown DOT culvert project. The changes they are making in that project include adding a 8 foot by 17 foot underground culvert under the Gillespie car lot and ending up behind the soon to be removed buildings on the west side of our main street. This will eliminate the flooding problems for our businesses and homes, but it will also push tremendous amounts of water into the portion of the creek that separates Factory and Basin Streets.
And when they get to the cross street, Foundry, we have a 6-foot Keystone culvert that will not handle the amount of water or debris that comes with it. The culvert (which also houses an exposed sewer pipe) will have to be removed and the pipe protected. This will lead to the closure of Foundry Street and the re-opening of Factory Street as a two-way village street. At the bottom of Factory Street and on the eastern border of the newly acquired Roto Salt property, Foundry Street will be closed, and some form of parking will be established.
So, let me re-cap this somewhat long update. We will expand the Park to the south, treat high nutrient loaded creek water to help protect Cayuga Lake, consider how to refurbish 2 buildings, and also change the traffic pattern(s) from Factory to Foundry to Basin.
I think we should be aware that the 5 beautiful keystone culverts that start on Grove Street and meander through the center of our village have been more than sufficient to move the water safely since being constructed in the mid 1850’s. Many changes in our local environments and major weather patterns have forced us to make these significant changes. The time frame for these projects is Spring of 2019 through ???
2.) I have talked about water (remediation, hydrants, valves, etc.) a lot, but with little mention of sewer. Many of you are already aware that our Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) is our most valuable and costly asset. It was constructed in the late 1970’s and is in very good condition. However, the repairs for a system of this age are very, very expensive. And every year we have more pieces fail. These problems also give us opportunities to upgrade our system. NYS DEC asks more of our equipment and operators every year. And, we are not allowed to shut down. Every once in a while, you may see major repairs and the related costs associated with these fixes.
3.) On a different note, the Village was awarded one of the new Electric Charging Stations from a grant received through the Cayuga County Planning Department. This will be located in the Park and will be available to those who make the change from traditional gas engines to all electric or hybrid vehicles. More details to come on this project as like other projects, we expect it to happen in the spring of 2019.
Back to Frontenac Park. Over the last few years the Village has been working with County Planning to finalize our LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan). There are many pieces to this plan of which the boat launch and park expansion are two. To fully realize the LWRP, which will include trails and more lake access, there are a number of preliminary segments that must be done first. One of them is the historical, archeological and anthropological studies of our properties. We are contracting (through a grant) with the Central New York Regional Planning Board (CNYRPB) to get this first part accomplished.
One of the existing pieces of the LWRP puzzle is that the Village is considering how to best utilize Frontenac Island. The Village owns the island and has an 1850’s (I guess a lot went on back then!!!) covenant with NYS to keep it as parkland. The flora, fauna and archeological studies from CNYRPB will include (along with other areas of the park) an in depth look at the island. There are only two islands in the Finger Lakes and Frontenac is the only one that is municipally owned. Someday, hopefully, we will re-incorporate its’ park value and history into the village. This project will be completed in 2019.
4.) And on a final part to this writing, I want to discuss the Village relationship with the Union Springs School District. Let me preface this by saying that although we are only responsible for what happens within the village limits, Union Springs is really the whole of our school district. The District crosses many municipal boundaries, but all of us are defined by the “We Are Union Springs” motto. To this point we each do everything we can to provide a safe and nurturing community.
As for projects, the School District has successfully consolidated back into the Village. With that there are needs and responsibilities for each of us. The Village is in the process of creating several Crossing Guard positions, as we have more and more young walkers. A striped crossing path will soon be put in on Homer Street across from the entrance to the AJ Smith Elementary School. And the Village has been discussing the lack of, or non-existence of quality sidewalks. That will be discussion for another large, expensive, but worthwhile project. The Crossing Guard positions and striping, soon. The sidewalks, maybe not so soon!
Mayor Bud Shattuck