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Emergency work needed on Cazenovia Creek

SPRINGVILLE – The Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District will move forward with an emergency stabilization project on the Cazenovia Creek, after the Board of Education approved it at its Sept. 12 meeting. The project will use a natural channel design to shift the creek, which runs through Colden Elementary School’s property, and restabilize the land around it.

The creek has shifted about 90 feet toward the school since 2009, explained Frank Armento, of Fisher Associates. The shift has caused a slope of about 13 feet, causing concern for the district.

“The erosion … has been significant over the last 7 years,” Armento said.

According to Jeff Nunn, of Gordon W. Jones Architects, there has been an estimated loss of 15 horizontal feet on Colden’s property. A conceptual design relocates the creek and reestablishes the stream bed. It will include redirective structures, like rocks, to prevent significant erosion.

“[Redirective structures] become long term control,” said Ben Virts, of Fisher Associates. “We’ll restabilize the slope and support it with vegetation.”

Virts said the natural channel design is a permanent fix, that allows the creek to continue moving water and sediment naturally. It’s also the most cost efficient option.

The board declared a negative State Environmental Quality Review, also known as a SEQR, and approved moving forward with the project.

Physical work on the creek will begin in the summer of 2018, but stakeholder meetings and property surveys will begin this year. Because the creek is not contained to just Colden Elementary’s property, the board raised questions about funding.

“It’s more than S-GI’s property … that creek flows right through downtown Colden,” member Chris Cerrone said. “It seems like we should get funding from other places.”

Superintendent Kim Moritz agreed, noting the district will look into getting funding from multiple sources, including local politicians. The project is estimated to cost $320,000, and the State Education Department agreed to provide aid for the work done on S-GI’s property. Business Official Maureen Lee outlined an anticipated state aid of 79.8 percent, to be received in 2018-19, leaving $62,620 as the local cost.

“We’ll look at other funding but we may need to work quicker,” Moritz said. “I want to be clear that this is spending out of this year’s budget.”

The Erie County Soil and Water Conservation would be the best source for outside funding, Armento said. He added the project is likely too small for funding from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Moritz also recommended property owners surrounding the school be notified as soon as possible about the work. Making the area safer for students and staff was also a concern of Moritz.

“We’ll have additional stones placed temporarily,” Nunn said. “We looked at fencing too.”

Considering the work needs to be done, Board President Allison Duwe asked if there is any way to use the creek, its erosion and the forthcoming work as a learning experience. Both Nunn and Virts agreed it could.

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