On Tuesday, Nov. 21, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the awarding of almost $23 million to 33 applicants across the state; village, towns and counties applied for what are known as “community development block grants,” with hopes of using the funds to address community issues such as repairing water lines and road improvement.
This funding is provided by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Office of Community Renewal, with the state website stating that there are at least 1,300 towns, cities and villages that are eligible for this grant, as long as the population is under 50,000. Counties with populations under 200,000 may also apply for the funding.
The Village of New Paltz was one of the lucky recipients of this community renewal grant, being awarded $857,550 to “replace deficient sewer mains and manholes,” according to Hochul’s statement on the website.
The sewer system in New Paltz is reportedly almost 100 years old, making it apparent that there are repairs necessary to maintain the integrity of the water lines. The Village has previously dealt with issues with their sewer system where New Paltz was fined $5,000 in 2014 for violations of discharging untreated sewage into the Wallkill River, but were allowed to continue repairs throughout. Since then, there have still been reports of raw sewage overflowing around manhole covers creating concerns over public health and safety.
With the newly acquired funds from the grant, the Village plans to “replace the lines and manholes on Elting Avenue, Lincoln Place, Hasbrouck Place and South Oakwood Terrace,” according to the Daily Freeman. In addition to the hefty monetary donation from the state, New Paltz must also contribute $47,000 towards these repairs as a local share. These new repairs will be the 12th major project in the past 20 years, with a running total of $6.57 million spent so far on fixes to the village’s sewer system.
Mainly, the problems with the system seem to stem from the age of the pipes and the reluctance to lay new pipe in hopes to reduce costs of repair. In the past, the interior of the sewer pipes have been re-lined to prevent raw sewage leaking out, but this is only a temporary fix. With the funds allocated to the village from the grant, the pipes can be replaced entirely, ensuring the reliability and efficacy of the sewer system as a whole.
With the replacement of many water lines, the village should hopefully be able to avoid future violations by eliminating the aged pipes that would discharge raw sewage and in turn, make New Paltz a safer and healthier place to live.
Gov. Hochul advocates for the effectiveness of grants like these: “Building, preserving and stabilizing our communities has never been more important and even the smallest amount of assistance is all it takes,” she said. “New Yorkers deserve to live in updated, safe neighborhoods and we are committed to making that reality.”