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May 21, 2013

Make sure Blodgett project holds water

The Daily Star

---- — Many thanks to Dennis Finn and the Planning Commission for allowing unrestricted public comment on the Blodgett Drive housing project at the commission’s May 15 meeting. Most who spoke are residents of the area who know the safety and drainage issues well.

I spoke about drainage, particularly from storm runoff. It’s already a problem that the city has tried to address. My neighbors on Crestmont Terrace (east of the site) have been regularly flooded by storm runoff, and in 2012 the city built a new, fortified trench to stop this. It has yet to be tested.

The huge Newman project at the top of Blodgett Drive introduces a new risk. All drainage from the site, then bereft of mature trees and grasses, would flow into an on-site storm water pond and then, via an underground line, into the Hunt Union Pond below. From there it would flow into a new underground line running down Bugbee Road to the Oneonta Creek, which passes by the high/middle school and then alongside properties below (including those on Gault Avenue).

Since a major storm could overwhelm this single run-off system, residents along its line need to know that it would be up to the task. We’re told that the engineering is state of the art and flawless, but the track record isn’t stellar. Just ask those who live on Crestmont Terrace. And remember the “S-curve” flooding that isolated the high/middle school in 2011.

Most of us on the “hill” aren’t simple-minded NIMBYs. We recognize that the Newman project would bring welcome tax revenue, and we could tolerate inconveniences. But flooding of our homes is another matter. Before approving the project, the Planning Commission must be sure this won’t happen.

Thomas Beattie