Town wary of Corps return
"What happened in the past, while it's important to moving forward, we're still moving forward and developing a whole new alternative," Jodi McDonald, the chief of the rivers and lakes section of the corps's planning division in New York, said. "We'll essentially have public meetings and ask for public input.
"You're really starting with a new slate," Mark Weller, a Pemberwick resident and member of the Byram River Working Group said. "There's new things you can do that's less obvious to the homeowners and the town that would mitigate flooding."
When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last presented ideas for preventing floods along the Byram River nearly two decades ago, the town flatly rejected the recommendations.
Now that the corps has returned to again study the problem of flooding along the Byram River, some town officials are greeting the federal agency's return with skepticism.
"Let's make sure the results are better than the last outcome," Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency chairman Tom Baptist said, adding that the last time the corps examined flooding along the Byram River was in 1990, when he was then Greenwich's conservation director.
At the time, he successfully lobbied the town to reject the corps recommendations because the proposed measures were too drastic and unnecessary, Baptist said. For instance, engineers recommended excavating 3,000 feet of the Byram River channel, condemning and demolishing scores of structures near the river, removing 1,000 trees and building several concrete structures, such as an 8-foot height and 3,200-foot long levee, he said.
"We had no chance to discuss with their engineers alternatives," Baptist said. "The town made the correct decision, there's no doubt in my mind."
Following the destructive April 15, 2007, nor'easter, which forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents living near flooded waterways, including 100 in Greenwich, the U.S. House of Representatives asked the corps to investigate conditions at the Byram River and nearby Westchester....
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