Westchester County Legislator Judy Myers announced last week that a flood mitigation project at Gardens Lake in Mamaroneck is among the first projects to receive funding as part of Westchester’s Flood Action Plan. In a September 8 meeting, the County Board of Legislators approved the allocation of $4.5 million for four projects, including $1 million for Gardens Lake, known locally as the Duck Pond.
The project will both improve water quality and increase the ability of Gardens Lake to retain flood water. Approximately 11,000 cubic yards of sediment will be dredged from the pond and valves will be installed to allow the water level to be lowered in anticipation of a storm.
“This solution will be good for a significant period of time,” said Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe. In the long term – going out 20 years – she anticipates that more work will be required. “Nature keeps trying to fill in the pond,” she said. “Remember, it’s an artificial pond.”
The total budget for the Gardens Lake project is estimated at $1.6 million, with an additional sum for disposal of some dredged materials and for restoration of the site after the main project is complete, said Town Administrator Steve Altieri. The Town of Mamaroneck’s total cash contribution will be $750,000. There are also some funds from a New York State grant obtained in 2005.
“We are very pleased to hear that the County Legislature has approved the grant,” said Mr. Altieri. “Judy was very helpful when we met with the subcommittee – and on Monday night, the legislators voted unanimously in favor.”
“We owe a lot to Judy Myers, our legislator who is on the Flood Action Task Force,” concurred Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe. “She was persistent in keeping the legislative body’s eye on the ball – and it was like herding cats.”
Ms. O’Keeffe also praised the Town administration for its timely efforts in gathering the necessary data and filling in all the paper work required to be considered in the first round of grant allocations.
For her part, Ms. Myers gave credit to her colleagues.
“I applaud my fellow legislators for having the wisdom to prioritize the funding for these critically important projects,” said Ms. Myers, who pushed hard for the Sound Shore projects’ inclusion in the first round of funding. “We cannot eliminate all flooding but the technology exists to mitigate much of the flooding and the loss of private and public property that major storms such as the 2007 one can so quickly cause.”
Westchester County plans to allocate $10 million a year for the next five years to reduce flooding. The Flood Action Task Force, formed after the Nor’easter of April 2007, studies and recommends steps to reduce flooding in Westchester.
Mamaroneck Town’s original application for funds under the current plan was submitted over a year ago. However, a collaboration between Mamaroneck Town and Westchester County to restore the Duck Pond was first proposed in 2003. (See: Town Considers: Time to Dredge the Duck Pond?) At that time, Ms. Myers was a member of the Mamaroneck Town Board.