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Rye Council Approves Pair of Flood Resolutions

RYE, N.Y. -- The Rye City Council took a couple steps towards flood mitigation on Wednesday evening as they passed a pair of resolutions involving the Bowman Avenue Dam. With the first resolution the council awarded a bid for the Bowman Avenue Sluice Gate Project to the lowest of the 12 bidders, ELQ Industries, for $970,725. After some additional "soft" costs the total comes out to $1,083,025.

A sluice gate is an automated mechanism within the dam that controls water flow. The concept of adding the sluice gate is a way to more efficiently manage the water flow within the dam.

"This story started for us after the floods of '07," City Manager Scott Pickup said. "It did take quite a few turns to get to this point, we have a lot of partners in this project."

Among those partners are the state and the county, who combined could end up contributing up to $900,000 of the total project cost. Pickup added that he was pleased with the bid, and said that the numbers came in well below the budgeted amount.

"It won't be the last step, but it is certainly good to talk about something positive when it comes to flood mitigation after a lot of times talking about things that were pretty negative and definitely difficult," Pickup said. "It's an evening that's a long time coming."

The city also approved a resolution allowing the engineering company WSP Sells to conduct a study that investigates increasing the capacity of the Bowman Avenue Dam's upper pond.

"One of the areas identified for additional storage retention is behind the dam," Pickup said. "This is the opportunity for us to begin the engineering analysis and give the council an opportunity to look at what the true funding of an extension would look like."

The resolution awarded an additional $108,600 for soil testing, rock borings, survey work and analysis reports. The city has been awarded money through FEMA but Pickup said that money is slow coming.

Council member Laura Brett, liaison to the city's new flood mitigation committee, spoke about the importance of maintaining a relentless attitude when it comes to flood mitigation.

"Even if all these projects are completed, we will still not reach the goal we need to reach," Brett said. "Every single opportunity we have to retain water or hold off water we have to investigate to make sure they are economically feasible."

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