By JAMES WALSH
(Original Publication: January 22, 2008)
SLOATSBURG - It's possible to walk on the dam of Pine Grove's upper lake without knowing it's there.
presence of the earthen barrier, though, is keenly felt by residents of the
community, who are faced with the need to make potentially expensive repairs.
in mountains overlooking much of the village, the lake is one of two belonging
to a private homeowners' association.
lower lake, set in a residential neighborhood, is used for swimming and ice
skating. There are benches and a walking path. Couples have been married on the
has the feel of a public park, more so than the upper lake, which is mostly
surrounded by woodlands.
and fishing are the primary draws of the upper waterway, also known as
years ago, the community was notified by the state Department of Environmental
Conservation that the dam needed upgrades.
were notified by the DEC that there were certain deficiencies in the dam that we
had to address," said Dave McQuillan, president of the Association of
Property Owners at
concerns centered on making the dam conform to state guidelines and ensuring
that it was sufficient to contain the 3-acre lake.
emphasized that the dam withstood torrential rains delivered by Hurricane Floyd
in 1999, one of the area's most severe storms.
dam looks more like a dirt road. Water was flowing slowly yesterday from one
spillway, which barely created a trickle down the steep mountainside.
tax district would give the community access to state and federal grants, St.
Lawrence said, "to pay to fix the dam."
later became questionable whether a tax district could be created, and the
homeowners did not request one.
McQuillan declined to say what upgrades to the dam might cost, he indicated that
they were not inconsequential, "especially for a homeowners' association of
association, formed in 1951, has about 230 member families. It evolved from a
private club that was begun in the mid-1930s.
part of Sloatsburg; it's not elitist," said Mayor Carl Wright, a Pine Grove
resident since 1968. "There's been dialogue to see what could be done to
repair the dam and keep costs down."
assistance from the village or town, though, would only be permitted if there
were an imminent threat to public safety, Town Attorney Michael Klein said.
a private dam on privately owned property," Klein said, "so it's the
responsibility of the homeowners' association to raise the funds."
association was having engineering studies done by Maser Consulting of Newburgh.
what we're doing now is due diligence," McQuillan said. "We know what
needs to be fixed, but there are options and we're working with the engineering
company to determine which is best."
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