Enbridge has been taking longer than anyone expected to install the pipeline. They’ve run into some problems in drilling the hole—they hit unexpected sections of rock that could have affected the integrity of the pipe.
They’re being very careful and they’re heavily regulated, so they’re going slowly. That’s a good thing—we want them to be careful—but it’s also frustrating, because it’s taking a very long time.
Which parts of Yorktown are still affected?
Essentially, the area through Legacy Field near Route 132 is still affected. The good news is that the sections they’re still working on aren’t in neighborhoods. They’re finished with the section that goes from Maplebrook through to Stoney Street.
Construction was supposed to end in October 2018, so Enbridge needed a new agreement with the Town to continue using staging areas, including areas near the Legacy ballfield. Initially, they’d paid $3.8 million for inconvenience to the Town, plus another $500,000 in licensing for the staging area.
They tried to bargain that they should only be paying extra for that staging area—but the truth is that they’re still causing inconvenience to the Town. They’re still using our roadways heavily, there’s no use at all of Legacy Field—it’s a major impact on all of us.
So, we argued that they needed to pay an additional percentage and calculate the total based on the $3.8M plus the 500K. They balked at that, obviously, but long story short, they agreed to pay the town $1 million for the first three months they extended—November, December, and January—and $350K every month thereafter. They’re now saying they expect that work could extend through September.
How will the Town use that money?
When I was first elected, I went to a training program in Albany, and one of the pieces of advice they offered was this: When you get a windfall, never invest in anything that requires recurring costs.
Unfortunately, the previous administration did the opposite. It committed all of the initial money from Enbridge to the new Granite Knolls ballfields, including money that was originally supposed to be allocated to the repair of roads impacted by the project.
Granite Knolls will be a tremendous asset to the Town, but, it will result in a significant amount of recurring costs—constant ongoing maintenance, additional employees, replacement of turf.
It was not prudent to use all that money at once. However, it’s done; ultimately, we’ll get a great athletic complex that will hopefully generate revenue from out-of-town use.
But with the new negotiated funds, we’ll address the infrastructure issues that have been kicked down the road for too many years. Several town buildings need new roofs, and we’ll use the funds toward repair of those buildings
We’ll also be able to deal with structural road issues, including the retaining wall at Mohegan Lake. We can address these problems before they begin to fall apart—and forestall the additional expenses we would incur if repairs had to be made on an emergency basis. It also avoids the inconvenience of closing roads, like Baptist Church, and lets the town plan ahead so that less work needs to be done in the first place.
It should also be noted that in cooperation with the Town’s Highway Superintendent we were able to negotiate some additional funding from Enbridge, in addition to that noted above, for repair of some additional roadways.
What’s the latest on the Lowe’s construction?
The store intends to open in late March or early April. There are some outstanding issues, particularly the area near the Taconic, that they’re assuring us will be rectified. The site plan requires that area to be re-milled and re-paved. Unfortunately, the timing of the project is such that they can’t pave now because it has to be warmer to put down asphalt.
It should also be noted that since Route 202 aka Crompond Road is a New York State roadway, the town had little control over the activities taking place on it. However, we were in constant conversations with the State’s inspectors urging them to address outstanding issues that inconvenienced town residents.
Also, as part of the requirements under their site plan, the houses along Old Crompond Road must be hooked up to sewers. That final agreement is still being worked out.
Anything else you’d like to add?
One highlight of my month: Yorktown has one of the first young women’s groups in the Boy Scouts of America, and I hosted them here at the Town Hall and gave them a tour for their governmental and community service badge. I’ve been meeting a lot of fantastic students recently, and that’s been very gratifying.
This column is a regular Q&A with Yorktown Town Supervisor Lanny Gilbert. Have a question for him? Email AskLannyGilbert@gmail.com.