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Village awarded $375K grant for green infrastructure project

Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media The municipal parking lot adjacent to 164 Main St. in Ravena will be the focus of a grant-funded green infrastructure project to help alleviate flooding during heavy rain events.
December 22, 2018 12:46 pm Updated: December 22, 2018 12:46 pm

RAVENA — The village of Ravena has been awarded a $375,000 grant to construct “green” infrastructure with the goal of relieving some of the flooding concerns off Main Street.

Houses near Main Street can experience severe flooding during heavy rain events — sometimes a couple of feet deep in certain areas. While the project is not expected to completely eliminate the problem, village officials said, it will alleviate it.

“The village of Ravena was awarded $375,000 for the Green Infrastructure Practices Project,” Village Trustee Nancy Warner announced at the Dec. 18 meeting of the Ravena Village Board.

“For us, that means the village is going to do some work in an existing parking lot that we have behind the old News-Herald,” Warner said, referring to the municipal parking lot adjacent to and behind the building at 164 Main St., where the Ravena News-Herald office was located prior to relocating one block up Main Street.

Green infrastructure offers “natural” solutions to deal with excess stormwater, and can include adding trees, permeable pavement, bioretention areas, rain gardens, planter boxes and the like.

The village has been working with the firm Crawford and Associates Engineering to come up with possible green solutions to the flooding problems, and several months ago applied for the grant to help pay for it. That grant has now been awarded to the village.

“We are going to tear up some impervious surfaces in the village so water can seep into the ground easier, and we are going to have some bio-retention areas, not ponds,” Warner explained. “The biggest portion is daylighting portions of the Hannacroix Creek — that is all going to be done with this grant.”

Creek daylighting involves redirecting a stream to a more natural state to help reduce runoff, rather that having it diverted into a culvert, pipe or drainage system.

Deputy Mayor Bill Bailey clarified that the grant involves work on the stream behind Main Street, which is a tributary of the Hannacroix Creek, and not the creek itself.

The $375,000 grant will pay for the bulk of the project, but the village will be required to cover a portion of it through in-kind services — not through funds.

“We don’t have to match this in cash,” Warner said. “We will have to match it in approximately $45,000 worth of labor, which is great because we have the ability and the [public works] crew to do that.”

Other sites in the village were considered in the original green infrastructure feasibility study, but the grant will only be applied to the municipal lot on Main Street.

“This is great for us,” Warner said. “It won’t solve all of our problems, but it will certainly be a step in the right direction and help alleviate some of the flooding to those badly-hit areas.”

The grant has been awarded, but work is not expected to start for several months.

“The contracts won’t come out until April or May, so it will take some time for this to get rolling and for the work to start,” Warner said.

But when the times comes, she added, Village Foreman Henry Traver and the public works department “will be ready when we get the go-ahead.”

The green infrastructure grant comes on the heels of another sizable grant the village received for installing a new water main. That money has already begun coming in.

“So far we have received back $250,000 to reimburse us for the loan that we had to take out, so that money is coming in,” Warner said. “Those are two projects we worked hard on and it’s all coming into play now.”

Mayor Bill Misuraca pointed out that over the past several years, millions of dollars in grant money has been awarded to the village for substantial infrastructure projects.

“That’s almost $6 million in grant money, free money, that we have been able to get for the village,” Misuraca said. “To not have to overtax and put that burden on the taxpayers and get some real work done, it’s wonderful.”