Looking Back On 2013, Ahead To 2014 In Scarsdale

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Scarsdale officials are looking forward to another strong year in 2014. Photo Credit: File

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – There was no shortage of exciting news in Scarsdale this year, as several projects – including the long and anxiously awaited Popham Road Bridge replacement – made great strides in the village over the past 12 months.

In addition to the re-opening of the much-maligned Popham Road Bridge several months ago, Scarsdale officials were busy in 2013, with projects that included the proposed renovation of Fire Station No. 1, improvements to the South Fox Meadow Drainage Basin and amending the village code regarding the installation of permanent emergency generators.

The $17.2 million Popham Road Bridge Replacement Project was funded through federal and state grants, with the village assuming approximately 8 percent of costs.

The previous bridge was more than a century old and had begun to deteriorate and created a potential safety hazard, according to Glenn Schnabel, an assistant to Village Manager Alfred Gatta.

Construction on the Popham Road Bridge, which was continually delayed and postponed, created a bevy of traffic-related problems in the heart of the village for more than three years. Earlier this year, all five lanes of the bridge were opened for the first time, much to the delight of motorists.

“It was such a relief when it was finished. That construction was something we all pretty much just learned to live with after all that time,” resident Jim Williams said. “It was a pain at times, but it came out beautifully, and really helped with all the cars that go that way.”

The village also helped with flood mitigation, with the economically friendly South Fox Meadow Drainage Basin Project. The $3.25 million flood and water quality project “included the restoration of wetlands, construction of two large detention basins capable of storing more than three million gallons of water and clearing, grubbing and removing trees from George Field Park and Cooper Green,” Schnabel said.

That project will continue in 2014, with the planting of trees, shrubbery and plants at Harcourt Woods. When completed, the overall project is expected to reduce flooding during flash storms and will provide a 30 percent reduction in peak flows.

After dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Sandy last year, Scarsdale officials promptly got to work on amending the village ordinance that made it difficult for homeowners to install permanent emergency generators. The Board of Trustees relaxed the strict rules, making it easier for homes to deal with the annual “100-Year Storm.”

Looking forward, the village is excited about several more projects that will continue in the New Year.

The Reeves Newsom Water Pump Station project will continue in 2014, and it is anticipated that the $7 million project will be finished by April. The project will modernize the pump station, which will improve its output to 13 million gallons of water each day.

Lastly, design and construction specifications for Fire Station No. 1 – which is more commonly known as the Popham Road Fire House – is set to be completed by February. Bidding will then commence, with construction starting in June. The project will amend the failing floor structure, and will create additional room for fire and ladder trucks that have increased in size since the building was constructed in the early 1900s.

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This is all very nice, but one of the biggest stories of the year, if not the biggest, was the voter rejection of the school budget and the subsequent resignation announcement by the longtime superintendent. This was the first time in decades that voters said "no" to the schools, and it could be an indication of thins to come. In a village known and celebrated for its schools, you might think this would rate a mention. Generators?