Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins announced that the US Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to exclude certain costs from the Canadaway Creek Stream Bank Erosion Project. The creek has eroded more than 100 feet in the past 50 years and continued erosion could threaten sewer lines and access roads, making the Village's project critical to local infrastructure. The representatives wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers in March and urged that they waive certain costs that would allow the Village of Fredonia's much-needed project to move forward, and this week the Army Corps has heeded their call. The total project cost was reduced by $207,468 saving the Village of Fredonia over $58,000 in local payments for the project. Schumer, Gillibrand and Higgins said these savings could allow this long-stalled project to finally move forward.
"After 50 years of continued erosion in the Village of Fredonia, we are pleased that the Army Corps has heeded our call and will reduce the costs for the Canadaway Creek Erosion Project, providing much needed relief to Fredonia taxpayers. This decision helps pave the way for this much-needed project to move forward and will allow federal resources to once again flow to this effort," said Senator Schumer.
"This reduction in cost will provide much-needed relief to the Village of Fredonia, and will allow a critical project to move forward after more than a decade of deliberation," Senator Gillibrand said. "I commend the Army Corps for their decision and hope that the erosion at Canadaway Creek can be immediately addressed to protect the health and safety of Fredonia's residents."
"Working on behalf of the local community we brought everyone to the table and as a result of that discussion the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to waive certain costs of the Canadaway Creek Stream Bank Erosion Project," said Congressman Higgins. "This wouldn't have happened without the hard work of the Village leadership, who tirelessly fought to protect the interests of taxpayers while working to resolve the erosion problem."
The project, which would construct an approximately seven hundred twenty (720) foot trench along the left bank of Canadaway Creek has been a priority for years but was recently stalled due to complications with the amount the Village would be forced to contribute to the project. Today's decision by the Army Corps to waive some costs associated with pervious designs of the project will make the completion of this project a far more affordable option for the Village.
The project is listed as a priority for the Army Corps of Engineers because continued erosion of the bank could jeopardize the integrity of the sewer main that runs along the creek and would then cause raw sewage to flow into the creek and potentially into Lake Erie. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Higgins recognized the importance of this project and worked with Village officials to press the Army Corps to take further action and help defray some of the costs to local taxpayers. A copy of the letter appears below:
A copy of the Representatives' March letter appears below:
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310-0108
Re: Canadaway Creek Streambank Erosion Protection project, Village of Fredonia, New York
Dear Assistant Secretary Darcy,
We write you today regarding the status of the Streambank Erosion Protection project along Canadaway Creek in the Village of Fredonia, New York. We urge you to make a rapid determination on whether the costs owed to the Corps by the Village can be waived to allow the project to proceed (or to be terminated if that is mutually agreeable). In addition, we would request your office meet with the Village to develop a positive and productive way forward pursuant to such a waiver or otherwise.
In 2009, the Corps and the Village of Fredonia signed a Project Participation Agreement (PPA) to construct an approximately seven hundred twenty (720) foot long trench filled revetment along the left bank of Canadaway Creek. The terms of the PPA were based on a design established by the Corps in 2005. This was the second design established by the Corps -- a previous design proposed in 1999 was rejected. The terms of the PPA effectuated how each party was to behave, although some complications have arisen in implementation.
It is our understanding that complications related to the implementation of the PPA specifically relating to the amount the Village will be required to contribute in the continuation of the project have brought the parties to a crossroads. It is also our understanding that the Buffalo District has commenced a process to terminate the project and that such a determination current sits at the Corps Headquarters. As a termination of this project would affect the Village's financial position if the costs owed are not waived, and it would also have the practical result of failing to address the problem that the Streambank Erosion Protection project was set-up to remedy, we would request your office to consider a positive way forward.
We thank you for your consideration of this matter and look forward to working with you on this issue.