“Mamaroneck is Drowning”
By Kathy Savolt -
In an emotionally raw Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting on Tuesday night, residents who were once again flooded by Tropical Storm Ophelia urged the Board to do more. Starting and ending with Bernie Camarda, residents pleaded with the BOT to develop a plan and work with upriver municipalities to control the water that comes into Mamaroneck.
Camarda stated that the Village must do more, and the need is urgent. “The Army Corps of Engineers project will take many years and you can’t rely on this alone, plus there’s weather change,” he explained. Camarda ended with: “This isn’t the Friendly Village, it’s the Broken Village.”
Laura Abbate told the BOT that despite statements to the contrary, flooding has not improved and there is no data to back up any such statements. She urged the Board to listen to the people. “Mamaroneck is drowning,” she said, her voice breaking. When Mayor Murphy said that he understood their anxiety and frustration, several in the crowd spontaneously, and in unison, yelled “No, you don’t.”
Jimmy Abbate urged what became a common theme – be more aggressive about flooding and work with other municipalities. He acknowledged that things had been done but “it’s not enough.”
Residents cited the emotional toll whenever it rains. Danielle Camarda recounted the panic she felt when the Mamaroneck school district failed to close early and only did so when the flooding was already bad. Her children apparently had to walk home through the water. Murphy informed residents that Village officials have no control over the schools and efforts to reach out to them earlier in the day were not fruitful.
Sue Deschensky, who lives by the Beaver Swamp Brook, cited sleepless nights whenever it rains and suggested the camera placed near Rye Neck High School be relocated to the bridge at Short Street, a location the residents use to gauge flooding. She also expressed concerns with dredging the Beaver Swamp Brook (as reported earlier by the Village Engineer) because of the fragility of the walls along the brook.
Anna Bianco told the BOT about an abandoned property at 265 Madison Street that has been vacant since Hurricane Ida two years ago. It has become a refuge for homeless persons and rats, but it flooded again during Ophelia. She asked the Village to do something about the property. She also reported that debris caused the river to back up at the Center Avenue footbridge. “I know you’re trying,” she said, “but you need to try harder.”
Another common theme was concern about the BOT’s current initiative to increase the number of affordable housing units in the Village. Several residents urged the BOT to focus solely on flooding concerns. They also questioned the use of the Hunter Lot for affordable housing because that is where they can park their cars during flood events.
As reported by the Village Manager there are 27 displaced residents; 14 adults and 13 children. It will be a slow go for them to return to their dwellings. They are being helped by the Red Cross with temporary housing in White Plains.
Editor’s Note:The Mamaroneck Observer recognizes our first responders as once again coming through for the residents of our Village. Also pitching in are other residents who organize supplies and clothing drives to help their neighbors.We live in a truly wonderful community.
A container swept away by the flood blocking the river.