Weekly Feature

2018-08-09 / Front Page

Still no decision on future of Tannery Brook

Village leaders discuss construction options, cost

Village leaders are once again discussing what to do with the Tannery Brook culvert. On Monday, the conversation focused on whether to extend the culvert to Oakwood Avenue, as opposed to keeping it in its current location, which ends behind several businesses on Main Street.

The culvert became a main priority for village leaders after it collapsed and created a sinkhole in the parking lot of Mikey Dee’s restaurant on Main Street last fall.

Trustee Al McCabe believes running the culvert down to Oakwood Avenue, where it would empty into Cazenovia Creek, would prevent the structure from becoming backed up with debris. He also believes the increase in water is due to the development in the area, something that wasn’t considered when the original structure was built 30 years ago.

“Tannery Brook is collecting water from all over, whether it’s from the village or the town, wherever it’s coming from, it’s coming in.”

Both McCabe and Mayor Peter Mercurio commented that if the work is going to be done, then they need to think about a longer timeframe.

“Ten, 20, 30 years down the road,” suggested Mayor Peter Mercurio.

“Why not think about 50 years down the road?” said McCabe. “Because if it’s going to last for 50 years, why wouldn’t we think 50 years down the road?”

The solution isn’t so simple, however. According to Mercurio, extending to Oakwood Avenue would also mean construction on the Oakwood Avenue Bridge.

The plan could also get some pushback from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, according to Jason Havens, a civil engineer for the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee. Havens says the DEC requires a minimum of 1 additional foot of natural stream bottom and favors natural stream beds as opposed to enclosed culverts.

Although the board met on Monday with the intention of moving forward with a plan for the culvert, no decision was made.

There was talk, however, about a timeline for the project. Havens said if the board had reached a decision at Monday’s meeting, it would be able to begin the design and permitting process. That process, he said, will take six to eight months, and when completed, the board could open bidding on the project. Had the board made a decision, the best-case scenario would mean construction could start in the late spring or early summer of 2019 and be completed by next fall.

However, Havens told the board they will be able to go through the bidding process while also in the process of obtaining permits.

In the meantime, Mercurio is questioning what the village can do to prevent another sinkhole situation.

“It would be pretty embarrassing if we had another sinkhole while we waited to finish the whole process up,” he said.

Havens said there are some areas of the culvert he believes are in need of attention.

“There are some areas that I would recommend that we try to put something in concrete or otherwise to buy some time to get to whatever decision is made,” he said, adding that stabilizing the stream bank would be a good start.

The cost of the temporary repairs, Havens estimates, would be around $10,000 to $15,000. Ultimately, the project is expected to cost around $1.7 million. He reminded the board that while the improvements would help prevent another sinkhole, there is no guarantee that it will eliminate the risk altogether.

“You guys could build a trillion-dollar culvert, and it still might not work,” he said. “What we’re doing is planning for every day and the opportunity for 10- and 15- and 20-year storms.”

Return to top