The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

February 22, 2014

Early efforts to halt Silver Creek were slow going


That same summer, a survey of the path of Silver Creek was taken by Clyde Potts of New York City, with suggestions for improvement of the channel as a matter of safety.

On Monday, Feb. 5, 1923, the city’s board of public works met to discuss plans for improvement as prepared by city engineer Frank M. Gurney.

As the Star reported, “It is not proposed at this time to undertake the entire work along the creek, but rather that on the catchment, and from that point to improve the sides and bottom of the stream as far as Center street, a distance of 781 feet below the catchment area. The total cost of this work, including the catchment, bridge on Clinton and the work on sides and bottom is $21,043.45, the expense of which will in part be borne by the city and part by the property owners.”

It was then reported on Thursday, April 19, that the plan had been approved, and that both the D&H Railway and Elmore Milling Co. would share significant portions of the cost of Silver Creek improvements, as each time Silver Creek raged over its banks, their businesses were adversely affected. Bids were sought in October 1923. The catchment was designed to prevent tree limbs, gravel and refuse from being carried down the channel.

This project wasn’t the end of the problem, as was proven in 1935 and 1936 when Oneonta endured some major flooding during the summer months.

Another large improvement was approved in 1939 as part of a Works Progress Administration flood control project.

“Sanctioned by United States army engineers and approved by Works Progress administration officials in Washington, Oneonta’s $346,627.85 flood control project is expected to get underway this month, City Engineer Frank M. Gurney announced yesterday,” as seen in the Star of Thursday, Feb. 2. The project called for some new bridges, walls for the creeks and improved stream bottoms. Oneonta’s other two creeks were part of this project, expected to last 18 months. Work actually began on Monday, Feb. 27, employing about 50 laborers.

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Mark Simonson

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