AVON– The Village of Avon sustained some of the worst storm damage in Western New York last week. Horror stories of backwashed sewers, roads awash with several feet of water, and geysering manholes abound. Some roads were washed out, and a bridge over Little Conesus Creek was completely destroyed. Weather reports vary, but most estimates suggest that, in Avon, seven inches of rain fell in about eight hours.
More than a dozen Avon residents came out at 6:00p.m. at 74 Genesee Street to listen and speak to the Village Board about the recovery plan. Considering the varied and extensive property damage that people described, the room was surprisingly calm and good humored. There were no raised voices or accusations. In fact, the quiet consensus among Village Residents and Board Members, including Village Mayor Tom Freeman, was that Avon would have to come together to repair damage, and make a collective effort to prevent another flood disaster.
“We met with FEMA today in Caledonia,” said Mayor Freeman, “and they gave us a 50-page grant application form. We are going to try to get that grant money.”
Lots of folks still had to go home to wet houses, however. Residents expressed a willingness to lend a hand wherever needed, but it was clear that they wanted their houses fixed as soon as possible.
For the meantime, properties will have to be made livable from the grassroots up, so to speak. It was agreed that neighbors will have to take a few extra precautions in the future to prevent creeks from swelling, and culverts from plugging with debris.
It was suggested that residents keep grass clippings off of the roads and out of storm drains when mowing lawns, for example, and that neighbors should avoid stacking large benches, woodpiles, tires, or debris on creek banks because flood conditions will sweep them through town and plug culverts, or damage houses. It was suggested that homeowners have backflow preventers installed in their septic systems for $40 or $50, to avoid more sewer water gushing into the streets. The mantra of the evening was “We have to come together, we all have to pitch in.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Freeman expressed his appreciation for everyone who gave the Village permission to clear and clean private properties.
“We have a few easements on a few properties,” added Freeman, “and that’s good. Easements, cleaning, maintenance, everyone needs to help.”
Over the long term, the Board said it plans to install more detention ponds in areas that flood easily, and enlarge some culverts and pipes to deal with excess water flow.
Mayor Freeman stressed that Village Board minutes are always posted online, so if you can’t make it to Board meetings you can follow their conversations and stay in touch with the recovery plan.
Anyone can read Avon Village Board Meeting minutes at http://www.avon-ny.org/vgovt_vc_minutes.html.