Council dams creeks study

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council on Monday tabled a resolution to advertise for requests for proposals seeking engineering services for a hydrologic and hydraulic study of four city creeks.

The area in question has had multiple flooding problems in various neighborhoods over the years.

The city is seeking a hydrologic and hydraulic study of the Comrie, Hale, Hall and Caleb creeks and their watersheds. In addition, the study would look at drainage issues on Glebe Street and East Fourth Avenue.

The proposed resolution seeking RFPs for the study came before the council Monday at City Hall, but was pulled for possible action later. That resolution would have advertised for RFPs to provide professional engineering services for the study, with a deadline of May 9 for written responses.

But Mayor Michael Julius said Tuesday the council felt the city might be limiting choices for firms if it only accepted proposals until May 9.

“[The council] wanted to stretch that out a little bit and give the people an opportunity,” he said.

Councilman-at-Large Chris Swatt said Tuesday the council also “had a lot of questions,” and City Engineer Chandra Cotter was unable to attend. He anticipates action on the study at a future meeting.

Swatt said many of the flooding complaints the city has received from city residents relates to existing infrastructure around Comrie Creek.

“The catch basins are deteriorated to the point they are crumbled,” Swatt said.

Cement boxes in the creek, which help with drainage, that are crumbling is “some of the problem,” Swatt said.

The council discussed problems with Comrie Creek and what to do about when it floods its banks at its February meeting. Several residents attended that session, and members of the council and Julius said they would look into a possible study. The problem is that no funding to pay for a study of Comrie Creek was put into the 2014 city budget.

Cotter said the creek has caused flooding problems the last few years, including last fall in an area crossing South East Avenue, under Route 30A, South Chase Street and East Main Street, before the creek eventually connects into Hale Creek near Prindle Avenue.

Cotter last fall, in an effort to provide relief to residents, asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation for permission to dredge the stream from South East Avenue to South Comrie Avenue. The response from DEC, which denied the permit, was that Comrie Creek is a classified stream and DEC doesn’t promote dredging.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.