Consultants removed around 15 trees Wednesday from the bank of the Tioughnioga River in Homer in preparation for the removal of damaged soil along the river’s bank as efforts to rehabilitate the bank and construct a linear park.
The Homer village board unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve a lease with NYSEG and a bid for demolition of the three Route 11 buildings to make way for the planned riverfront park.
The lease, which would give NYSEG access to the banks of the Tioughnioga River, will bring $24,000 a year over three years to the village while NYSEG remediates the bank and replaces oil-contaminated soil, said Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe.
The remediation will involve blocking off half of the river.
“It’s going to always take longer for them to do that job than they have planned,” said board member Ed Finkbeiner. “I’m glad they’re doing it, but it’s not going to be pretty.”
“The good thing is they’ve already started to move equipment in so that means they’re going to get right on it,” said board member Tim Daley.
Income from the lease will go toward the park, Finkbeiner said.
The park will stretch 2 miles from Durkee Memorial Park, where the village hoped to build a boat ramp, south toward Cortlandville.
But residents won’t have access to parts of the river that will be fenced off for construction. In the meantime, a vacant former auto repair shop and another empty building will be demolished as contractors work to construct the park.
Contractors plan to remove the entirety of the foundation and disconnect water and sewage laterals while placing fill, dirt and seed to cover the demolished areas. The remediation will stabilize the ground and deter anyone from building there again, board members discussed.
“The next step as part of this is we did get them (NYSEG) to give us an easement to use the old NYSEG site as a parking lot in perpetuity without an annual fee,” McCabe said. “So we can make it our parking lot for the linear park.”
Board members also unanimously approved a plan to seek requests for proposals for demolition for the project. They discussed potential problems surrounding demolition and construction at the site, such as striking buried oil tanks during the NYSEG remediation project.
“We’re covered under unforeseen conditions,” said Deputy Mayor Patrick Clune. “It may be possible that some substructures may be discovered and if discovered, the contractor will stop all work and contact the village.”