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* This article first appeared in The Times Herald-Record on November 13, 1999. Used by permission.



Deal set to fix drainage problem

MIDDLETOWN: An effort to move a drain pipe in Pilgrim Estates may begin in the spring under an agreement by the city, Orange County and the Town of Wallkill.

By Chris McKenna
The Times Herald-Record

Orange County, Middletown and Wallkill have hammered out an agreement to move a drain pipe that flooded basements in a city neighborhood during a heavy downpour last year.

The three governments have agreed to share workers, equipment and materials to redirect the pipe around Pilgrim Estates in northwest Middletown, near the intersection of County Route 78 and Monhagen Avenue.

The city initiated the effort in July 1998, but the project stalled, largely because of Wallkill's reluctance to contribute a third of the cost, estimated at that time to be about $100,000,according to officials involved in the negotiations.

Under the deal worked out this month, the three governments will do all the work and provide the materials, rather than pay the county or an outside contractor to move the pipe.

"It had to be determined that the barter system was the way to go," said Wallkill Supervisor Tom Nosworthy, who estimates labor and materials for the project will cost $60,000.

Wallkill was included because the storm water piped under Pilgrim Estates runs off a hill on the other side of County Route 78, near Monhagen Lake. The hill is in the town, not the city.

A heavy storm last year washed melting snow and silt off the hill and overloaded the drain pipe, said Middletown Public Works Commissioner Al Fusco Jr. That forced water and silt into some Pilgrim Estates basements that had drains connected to the pipe, he said.

Tom Scott, a Pilgrim Estates resident whose basement was not flooded but who has pushed for drainage repairs, applauded the plans yesterday, saying he had heard numerous complaints of basement flooding before last year's deluge.

"We'll be appreciative to have it done," he said.

The work is expected to take place in the spring.

"I'm very pleased that it seems like they're going to do it now," said county Legislator Jeff Berkman of Middletown, who with Legislator Eddie Diana of Goshen has lobbied for the project.


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