Water loop project for Phoenicia?

Water main at the Bridge Street bridge. (photo by Violet Snow)

Water main at the Bridge Street bridge. (photo by Violet Snow)

With the winter’s water emergencies under control in the Phoenicia Water District, the town is fast-tracking efforts to improving water delivery infrastructure to the south side of the district. A grant application process, already underway, is close to completion, and the decision has to be made whether to start with restoring the water main over the Bridge Street bridge or completing a loop that would provide a backup water supply via the Woodland Valley bridge.

At the April 6 town board meeting, council members voted to set five meeting dates that will be used as needed to expedite the grant process, seek and approve bids, and set repairs in motion. The meetings, scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30, will be devoted exclusively to the water issues, and some may be canceled if not needed. Meanwhile, the decision has to be made regarding which project to proceed with under the grant currently being applied for with the help of consultant Candace Balmer of RCAP Solutions


The Bridge Street Bridge project, which will involve repairing a broken water main and replacing the support brackets, is estimated at $150,000, the grant funding limit. It would require starting from scratch with survey work, creation of construction drawings and documents, and required Ulster County Department of Health (DOH) approval. The actual construction will be fairly simple, since it will consist of replacing an existing structure, along a straight line.

The High Street loop, estimated at $102,000, will require less preparation, since plans have already been drawn up and approved by DOH, but construction will be more complex. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently informed the town that either job would require a Federal environmental review, a longer process for the new connection to be established in the loop. “The USDA understood the benefit and pitfalls with either review and were going to contact us early this week as to whether they could expedite the High Street loop review,” Stanley reported.


In other town news
The board approved a low-cost mobile spay-and-neuter clinic which will be set up outside the town hall on Saturday, tentatively beginning on May 16. The surgeries will be performed by Dr. Bridget Bloom, a licensed veterinarian in the State of New York, as a means of reducing the health and safety risk posed by stray pets resulting from unwanted animal births. Call 845-901-4637 to make an appointment for your pet. More details, including prices, are available at https://www.upstatespayandneuterservices.com.

The board voted to support the May 2 third annual Women’s Woodstock Cycling Grand Prix, which will feature, for the first time, a dash down Phoenicia’s Main Street. This subsection of the race will offer the possibility of winning the Phoenicia Sprint Prize, as cyclists turn off Bridge Street and head east on the Plank Road toward an archway marking the finish line of the sprint. “We’ll give riders full use of road for almost 800 feet,” stated race organizer Martin Bruhn at last month’s town board meeting.

Also present were police chiefs Chad Storey of Shandaken and Clayton Keefe of Woodstock, who support the race. The officials helped Bruhn lay out a 60-mile course that requires minimal road closings as it begins at 9:10 a.m. at the Woodstock Day School, winds through the mountains, passing through Phoenicia around 10:45 a.m., and returns to Woodstock for the grand finish. Bruhn had considered holding the sprint along the central part of Main Street, but Storey, unwilling to shut down parking access on a busy weekend, diverted him toward the eastern section.

“We’d like to highlight the town and benefit the economy,” said the enthusiastic Bruhn, a former Olympic cyclist. “Community engagement is what we’re after. We’re encouraging drivers to share the road.” In addition to the world-champion-level competition, there will be a 6.2-mile Family Fun race and a bicycle safety clinic on May 1. Top U.S. and Canadian female cyclists are expected to compete in the main race, and there will be a 30-mile course for developing riders. For more information, see https://wwcgp.weebly.com/.