Locals look to New Scotland Town Board for ‘green initiative’

Enterprise file photo 

A rain garden is used to filter and reduce a property’s stormwater runoff. Recently, the New Scotland Town Board was asked to support an initiative to curb runoff from the town’s Swift Road park. 

NEW SCOTLAND — Residents are asking the town of New Scotland to come up with an “green initiative” to help combat the local effects of climate change.

During a recent town board meeting, New Scotland resident Jacob Kruzansky, after hearing about Voorheesville resident Charles Divine’s three-decade ordeal with flooding on his Bayberry Court property, asked board members “to implement some kind of green initiative in the town so that we can do our part, we can help reduce the hassle for our neighbors, and, you know, we can also contribute to the wellness of the environment as a whole.”

Kruzansky told the board, “I believe this provides an impetus even if we as a town cannot unilaterally stop climate change.”

Divine’s Bayberry Court home backs up to the town’s Swift Road Park, and on Aug. 9 he recounted for town board members how a torrential rainstorm this past July, and the runoff from the 68.5-acre park, affected his quarter-acre property.

“It’s a massive influx, all of a sudden the stream — if you look at it today, you’d say, ‘What is this guy's problem, it’s a trickle in there’ — it turns into a raging river,” Divine said of the creek that carries runoff from the park.

During the July storm, with flooding Divine described as “whitewater rapids” and the worst he’d seen in 30 years of trying to control stormwater runoff coming from the Swift Road park, a footbridge spanning the creek was wiped out. He also said the flooding took out about 80 feet of his neighbor’s 3-foot-tall timber retaining wall. 

“It was just amazing,” Divine said. “A lot of those timbers ended up” in the backyard of a Severson Hill Road resident. 

A downstream neighbor, Pat Corcione, said the flooding was strong enough to move a National Grid “terminal box” near his property “halfway off its pad. Now if that wasn’t a terminal box,” he said, “if that was an intermediate line, there would have been a power outage.”

Divine hasn’t just let things get worse; he said his own mitigation efforts have included the installation of 22 tons of boulders and 15,000 pounds of rock wall, but the flooding has only worsened over time due to more frequent extreme storms, which he attributed to climate change.

Divine has raised the issue with the town as far back as 2009 and he’s also raised his concerns during Voorheesville village board meetings, but only more recently has anything come of it. 

After Divine spoke and Kruzansky made his request to the board, Councilwoman Bridgit Burke asked Kruzansky, “Did you have a particular green initiative in mind?”

Corcione responded that, “over the time that I've lived there in my house, I’ve planted 12 to 13 trees, [but] I don't have any more room; you know what I’m saying?” He also said he’d “put some dappled willows, which are very good to suck up water … If you do things like that, it helps. But when you’re fighting climate change, like [Kruzansky] said, we need everybody to do it.”

Councilman William Hennessy noted that the town had made some of its own mitigation efforts. “[What] we’ve done recently, we modified our solar law and we included retention of mature forests. And we included restoration of trees taken down. So we are efforting,” he said. 

While no specific green initiative was agreed upon at the meeting, it was said by residents and board members alike that some kind of grassroots effort, like letters to the Enterprise editor, would be helpful to kickstart the initiative. 

More New Scotland News

  • Maps shared with The Enterprise, posted online with this story, indicate that the CHPE line, which mostly runs along the railroad track, will cross Youmans Road “via trenching,” will cross Game Farm Road “via horizontal directional drilling,” and will also cross West Yard Road near Route 32.

  • Ed Mitzen spent much of his childhood in Voorheesville before going on to national renown as the founder of Business for Good, a not-for-profit that practices what he calls “venture philanthropy,” and which is now developing two businesses in the village where Mitzen grew up. 

  • Voorheesville has required that taxes be mailed in since the 2020, removing the option to pay in person, which has frustrated some people. Now, however, the district allows for online payments, which Assistant Superintendent for Finance Jim Southard says make the process easier for taxpayers. 

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