First, I want to wish everyone a safe, prosperous and very Happy New Year!!!
2018 was a year of long- and short-term planning, critical decision making and coming to the realization that 2019 was going to be like one that our Village has not seen in quite a while. It will be a year of construction, change and a start to rebuild. Expansion and upgrades to our park was our choice. Fixing aging infrastructure (hydrants) and mitigating flooding that caused damage to many homes and business, were not our choice, but our obligation.
There are (7) seven projects that will happen in 2019. I cannot predict the order that they will start (or complete), but most will be visible and probably somewhat disruptive. So while I am guessing, here is a short description of each project and a possible timeline.
(1) Fire hydrant(s)/water lines – Insert 20 or more valves to isolate and replace 14 non-working Hydrants. Check all of the main valves to ascertain condition and fix/replace as necessary. Map all of the above with GIS coordinates. This should start late winter or early spring and be finished by fall.
(2) Expanded boat launch and docks – This project involves working in the lake. As such, we must follow the rules and regulations of NYS DEC and the Army Corps of Engineers. Remove all existing docks and boat launch pads. Replace the 2 slips and 3 docks with an expanded 3 new slips and 4 docks. Start late winter/early spring and complete in late spring.
(3) NYS Dept. of Transportation flood mitigation project – This has a late February bid date and should start by early spring. Depending on many circumstances, it could continue into 2020. This WILL be the most disruptive project. Parts of Cayuga St (RT 90) will be closed and /or have one-way traffic for a length of time. I am sure the DOT and the contractors will find many work-arounds to limit these problems.
The project itself consists of construction, excavation and removal of buildings on both the east and west sides of Cayuga Street. For those who may not have already heard, this will include the removal of (3) three building in the west side Historic Main Street section. From north to south – Legends bar, Colleen’s hairdressing shop building and lastly the blue apartment building (previous Grow property). When you get a chance, take a look as the gap it leaves, as it may be there for a while.
The segment that this project impacts the most is that on the east side. Starting at the far eastern side of Gillespie Chevrolet, the head water of creek will be moved slightly to the north. This will allow for a parallel channel to be installed next to the existing undersized culvert. As the new culvert will be much larger, to alleviate flooding, it will also impact Gillespie’s property the most. Moving east to west in that construction phase, it will include the removal of the old gas plant and in stages the removal and rebuild of most of the new and used car lot. Please consider in this long process the financial impact to many, but especially to Gillespie Chevrolet.
(4) Solar – A large (3 megawatt) solar field will be replacing the mowed field around our village water supply/pumping station(s) and across from the High School. The Village will be provided with low cost electricity and community members will have that option also. More importantly, this is a green non-fossil fuel project that will give more resiliency to the electric grid (NYSEG). This will probably start in early spring and be completed in a month or so.
(5) LED street lights – In a NYSEG sponsored program, the Village will get all 138 street lights replaced with energy efficient LED bulbs. We worked with NYSEG to come up with a plan to have different lumens and brightness. We took into account areas that needed more light (dead ends, our main street) and which needed softer (neighborhoods). Additionally, this will save substantially in our electric costs for years. With luck this project will be completed early in 2019.
(6) With all of these other projects going on, our community will again this summer be having the ESPN Bass Elite fishing tournament. The dates are August 22-25 with much work to be done leading up to this great opportunity. Over a week or two period, we are expecting 10-20 thousand people to visit our park, our community and all of the other great nearby attractions. More on this in the near future.
(7) And last, we have the Village playground expansion at the Park. This has been a truly remarkable community build. Phase 2 is scheduled for this year, but we have a couple of reasons to hold off until later in the year. The Bass tournament is one, but the major reason is the NYS DEC work being done on the former TRW (General Products) site to for check for ground and ground water
contaminates. Better to wait and get an “all-clear” than to have to move/remove and start again.
With that, it is easy to see why 2019 will be a transformable time in Union Springs. I will be writing another short piece on other plans and changes for this year and beyond in, hopefully, the next week. As you read this, I know there will be questions. In a third writing I will do my best to talk about the costs and how we intend to fund them.
Mayor Bud Shattuck