Johnstown seeking creek study

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council on Monday night approved seeking engineering proposals for a hydrologic and hydraulic study of several creeks that have caused major flooding problems over the years.

The city is seeking a study of the Comrie, Hale, Hall and Caleb creeks, and their watersheds, in addition to a study of the drainage issues on Glebe Street and East Fourth Avenue, according to the resolution passed by the council at City Hall.

“My focus for this study is where the streams and creeks flow under the city streets and under the city’s infrastructure,” said City Engineer Chandra Cotter.

Cotter said the city isn’t studying the hydrologic issues as they relate to private property.

The city is advertising for requests for proposals for a consultant to provide professional engineering services for the study. The deadline for a written response is 10 a.m. May 23 at City Hall.

“I think the RFP fully explains what the city is looking for,” Cotter said.

At a February meeting, the council discussed problems with Comrie Creek and what to do when it floods its banks. Several residents attended that session. There is currently no funding to pay for a study of Comrie Creek in the 2014 city budget.

The creek has caused flooding problems for years, including last October. A problem area is where the creek crosses 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.

City resident Conrad Stergas told the council the stream bed is too high and there is erosion between South Chase and East Main streets, and a dam has built up and is causing water problems in that area. But he said the city’s focus is too limited and the study should also involve the Cayadutta Creek – the main stream in the city – especially as it entails erosion under North Perry Street.

Stergas said the water is mainly coming from the town of Johnstown, and he suggested the city contract with Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz to do specifications for a wider study of the entire city.

“Chandra’s fully capable of doing the proposal and doing the engineering on it,” Mayor Michael Julius responded.

Cotter later responded to Stergas by saying the city faces a “complex issue,” but wants to focus on the creeks under city bridges and culverts that are causing the main problems. She also noted the expense of doing a more extensive study.

“We’ll be able to use this for many years to come,” Cotter said.

The city engineer also said she’s trying to meet a state Consolidated Funding Application stormwater deadline of June 30 for possible funding to do work that may result from the study.