Chatham board hears of high water, near misses

CHATHAM–Malden Bridge residents attended the regular Town Board meeting last week to ask that the board deal with flooding in on their properties caused by a culvert pipe.

Residents at the Thursday, April 17 meeting also asked whether something could be done about site lines on the East Chatham Bridge, which several residents said had gotten worse since construction of the replacement span was completed last month.

Board member Bob Balcom said he has received calls about drivers having near misses with head-on collisions on the bridge, and people in the audience echoed that concern.

Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt said he would call the state Department of Transportation to see what could be done about the intersection.

The repairs and upgrades to the bridge were paid for by CSX, which owns the train tracks that run beneath the bridge.

The board is also planning to hire an architect to help manage a construction project at Crellin Park to put up a new pavilion by the pond for the summer recreation program. The board has been discussing what to do about the pavilion for several months. The old building, which had a snack bar, changing rooms, a deck and restrooms, was torn down last spring. That required the town to provide portable toilets at the pond last summer.

Board member Maria Lull said that having an architect to oversee the project was important “for the protection of the town.” She said that was the case even if the town decides install with pre-fabricated structure as members have discussed at past meeting.

“I think in the long run if we don’t do it, it will cost us more,” she said of having an architect supervise the construction.

Supervisor DeGroodt said the board would continue the discussion and look at costs at next month’s meeting.

Mr. DeGroodt also said he would look into the cost of having a survey of properties in Malden Bridge that have been experiencing extreme flooding because of culvert pipes that discharge water private properties. Resident Deborah Gestwicki brought videos, photographs and cardboard model showing the issue of runoff on her property, which she said is flooding her basement and land. She said the flooding has been worse since repairs were made on Albany Turnpike, and a culvert was put on her property on Hoes Road. “I’m just really appealing to the board,” she said.

Patrick Spillman, another Hoes Road resident, told the board that he has lost trees on his property due to flooding. “It’s a constant swampland and that’s not a natural thing,” he told the board.

Highway Superintendent Joseph Rickert told the board at the meeting, “Something has changed up in Mr. Spillman’s property.” As for Ms. Gestwicki and other residents with flooding issues, Mr. Rickert pointed out that the winter weather has been extreme. He also said that the town had not added any pipes but replaced some culvert pipes with ones of the same size.

Another resident said that even though it had been an extreme winter, this was not the only time flooding had occurred.

Mr. Rickert said that a survey of the land to look into the water issue could cost as much as $4,000.

Mr. DeGroodt said he would contact the town’s engineers about the cost.

Also at the meeting the board:

Approved paying Don Meltz $600 for his work with the Zoning Implementation Committee maps. The committee is moving towards creating a ridge line development protection zoning overlay

Announced the town is looking for two representatives on the county’s Office for the Aging

Announced the town will host a Swap and Shop event on May 3 from 9 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Crellin Park for people interested in buying, selling and swapping farm and garden goods and services. Anyone interested in participating can call 518 392-3262 to reserve a space at the event

Announced that he town clerk’s office is now selling state Easy Pass tags.

The board will hold a workshop meeting Thursday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .



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