Mr Mayor, Tear Down This Wall !

Have you ever paddled under a bridge, or how about just walking under a bridge? It’s an interesting transition, kind of like going into a tunnel, where the sounds change, and the light changes… and when you come out the other side, back to normal right?  In one case, there’s a walkway that’s been in place for about 14 years inSaranacLakeand it just happens to pass under theLapan Highwayand a bridge that spans theSaranacRiverjust past the new Myriad RBM facilities and the power plant at the end ofLakeFlower…

AUDIO – 083012 – Harrietstown Town Hall – Riverwalk Wall

The walkway is part of the River Walk which in conjunction with the new lodge at Mt Pisgah, won Saranac Lake the designation “All America City” in 1998…  and under the bridge, a mural showing biking, hiking and outdoor activities marks the start of the wooden boardwalk which takes pedestrians out over the river to a small dock and canoe launch at the south end of the municipal parking lot just behind the Rice Furniture and Maddens buildings in Saranac Lake…

From Left: Councilman Ron Keough, Village Trustee Barb Rice and Councilman Bob Bevelacqua lay out options for protecting the Town Hall from another flood..

The river’s water last year rose several feet above the boardwalk and over a retaining wall which was originally designed to protect the parking area behind the Town Hall from erosion…  Unfortunately, it’s in real need of repair and in contrast to last year’s flooding, the drought this year is causing record low water levels… A perfect opportunity for The Town of Harrietstown to move forward with a plan to re-build the wall..

One obstacle to re-building the retaining wall is that boardwalk which sits less than a few feet from the wall as both run down the length of the rivers banks from the bridge to the parking lot.

That’s Town Councilman Bob Bevalacqua talking with Councilman Ron Keough and Village Trustee Barb Rice..  A new retaining wall would protect the Town Hall from any future flooding – and with a 42 inch height the wall would act as a levee – directing floodwaters downstream and away from the downtown buildings. Councilman Ron Keough says the generator which sits between the wall and the town hall will need to be moved to the side of the building and installed permanently..

One option for saving costs is to Re-design the River Walk so that it hugs the newly completed wall using a pathway that will then lead back to a new entrance to the boardwalk at the north end of the Town’s Property..

The wall will have to be at least 42 inches high to meet the code, and interestingly enough – in order to meet code, the Town will have to apply for a variance with the APA to build the wall. In addition, there are 5 additional stakeholders in the project, including the two municipalities,  the DEC, the Army Corps of Engineers, FERC and the River Walk Commission.  And while their goal is to take advantage of the low water levels and begin work as soon as possible, it may still be several months before any real work can begin..

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