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Wheatfield meets on drainage

by Olivia

Susan Mikula Campbell

Thu, Feb 10th 2011 05:00 pm

Winter weather apparently kept attendance down at town Drainage Committee meetings held Feb. 3 for residents of two Wheatfield neighborhoods.

In the case of meeting for residents of the David Drive, Kenneth Court and Joann Circle neighborhood, not enough residents were on hand to make a final decision on how to proceed with cleaning out the silt and rebuilding the banks along the David Drive drainage ditch.

Wheatfield Supervisor Bob Cliffe said the town probably will do some written notification of residents.

Last year, once state Department of Environmental Conservation permits were received and the project begun, access questions arose.

The drainage ditch runs behind the homes, and it would be easier for the town's Highway Department to use some residents' side yards to get equipment back to the ditch for cleaning, rather than just the ends of the ditch, according to Town Attorney Robert O'Toole.

He noted that the drainage ditch has become overgrown and there have been problems with muskrats, fences rotting and erosion of lawns.

But, without a significant number of residents at the meeting, the town doesn't know "where the neighborhood stands and whether or not they want this (cleaning) done," he said.

"Not all residents want to disturb the bushes along the creek and most don't want us to work from their property, even though the town has an easement to work there," Cliffe said. "If we can't get access, we'll do what we can, but we won't be able to reshape the banks as we proposed."

The meeting with Willow Lake residents was primarily informational, O'Toole said. Drainage in that area has historically been a problem. The town's southern drainage project several years ago significantly reduced the amount and severity of flooding in the area, but a new agreement with the City of North Tonawanda will reduce it even more, he said.

The agreement allows the town to access two 102-inch diameter outfalls that go under the railroad tracks and under River Road right at the NT-Wheatfield line. The town paid a $50,000 stipend for access and will do the engineering and work needed hook into these culverts, Cliffe said.

"We are working to obtain a permit to open a ditch along the tracks such that when there is a major flood event the water will flow to these outfalls and out to the river," Cliffe said.

Water from the Willow Lake area (Wilrose Court, Clescent Drive, and portions of Winbert and Graydon), backs up during peak rain or snowmelt periods. This water flows west through the southern drainage route, along the NT/Wheatfield line, turns south, and is stopped by the railroad and River Road. There, a single 30-inch pipe drains the entire area, including much of Wheatfield Lakes.

"We expect that by using these outfalls in peak periods, the flooding will be greatly reduced, hopefully eliminated," Cliffe said.

The town will be holding another meeting tonight, Feb. 10, this time for residents interested in the town's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and the future of the River Road waterfront. The 7 p.m. meeting will be held at Frontier Volunteer Fire Department firehall on Liberty Drive. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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