If you needed something to take your mind off of the April 15th deadline to pay your taxes, I suppose the floods of 2007 fit that bill. To me it seems so long ago,however, I’m sure there’s some out there that are still feeling the effect in some way or another. Some,sad to say, have never recovered.The destruction that affected hundreds, if not thousands , of homes and businesses throughout the area provided the initiative for city planners to develop the type of project needed to address the major infrastructure shortcomings. The environmental development of the last half century, along with normal wear/erosion have pushed the systems to the brink of capacity and if not for the current economic climate facing all municipalities, the city would probably be moving forward to thwart another flood disaster by commencing with this infrastructure plan by now. The April storm(almost 8 inches of rain in 24 hours) was considered a 100 year storm, but remember, just 4 weeks earlier, there was a slightly weaker storm that caused almost as much flooding in and around the area. Large parts of Mamaroneck and Larchmont were underwater. Some say the ground soaking from the March storm actually contributed to the severity of the April storm’s flood levels. Some climatologists even suggest that storms of this nature may become more common due to environmental changes from global warming. Who can say for sure? We do know that it doesn’t have to be the 100 year storm for flooding to occur in the more susceptible areas and that certainly affects the quality of life for those folks.
So, where does this take us?
There is hope that after the years of cleaning up the storm and sewer back-ups that culminated with the worst flooding in modern times help may be on the way. In speaking about the Federal Stimulus Money and how it applies to New Rochelle, the mayor spoke of “developing some flexibility” with the state to try to get around some constraints that may preclude some of the many challenges facing the city. If he can get this infrastructure project going it would mean not just jobs, but a true improvement to some very real quality of life issues for whole neighborhoods. There’s talk of trying to push the city yard relocation but that in no way impacts the quality of life for the many citizens who already live here and pay taxes here and suffer the consequences of the failing storm water and sewer system. The city yard does need improvement, but ask the person who comes home to a backed up sewer where he/she thinks the money should go and I think the answer is clear. If the mayor can be successful in finding some “flexibility” it would be a great opportunity to reinforce some of the foundation the city is built on. All great projects rely on a good foundation. Some council members are in favor of infrastructure as opposed to city yard when a priority is specified. Talk to your council person, see what they say about this. It’s been said that so many projects are ineligible, ask them to explain why. Would they support the mayors efforts to get this particular project prioritized? I would applaud such efforts, Then, perhaps we can support the mayor in his lobbying to provide a true quality of life improvement directly for the citizens who live here now. The ones who have raised our families here. The ones who pay our share of taxes without the luxury of PILOT programs or tax abatement programs.