Harrietstown Gets Sandbagged by FEMA

It seems FEMA isn’t interested in protecting the integrity of the Harrietstown Town Hall, or at least they weren’t interested at the most recent meeting of stakeholders to discuss plans to repair the retaining wall which keep the Saranac River from encroaching on the property..Councilman Ron Keough told the board that FEMA is now expressing unwarranted concerns about how a new wall could change the downstream hydraulics of the river.. Councilman Keough was not happy with the outcome of the meeting, and he added that most of the participants in charge of regulatory issues surrounding the replacement of the retaining wall had never so much as walked on the River Walk or inspected the current damage done by the recent flooding.. Harrietstown Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua says it was quite a frustrating meeting.. because it seemed to them like the Town was being sandbagged..

AUDIO – 101113 – Harrietstown Town Hall Retaining Wall vs FEMA

Bevilacqua says the board is prepared to hire a contractor to get the retaining wall repaired and protect the structural integrity of the town hall by mid winter, and he says it’s important to do the work during the time of year when water in the river would be at it’s lowest…  But that may not happen now because FEMA has forced the Village of Saranac Lake to Suspend it’s permit and won’t budge on question of what impact simply replacing an existing retaining wall would have on the river….

The Board agreed that if they don’t see movement on this project in the very near future, they will have to take action to make FEMA and the DEC responsible for any liability which could arise from another flooding event including structural damage to the Town Hall, which also acts as a primary emergency shelter for the region..

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