Rye Brook Village Administrator Chris Bradbury, accompanied by Mayor Paul Rosenberg, points to the 20-foot water mark on the new sluice gate at the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook which will regulate the waters of Blind Brook during storm conditions to alleviate flooding.
Rye Brook Village Administrator Chris Bradbury, accompanied by Mayor Paul Rosenberg, points to the 20-foot water mark on the new sluice gate at the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook which will regulate the waters of Blind Brook during storm conditions to alleviate flooding.
<
1
2
>
Everyone agrees that flooding is not a local issue. That's why it took four government entities to make a project work that should curb flooding in at least two neighboring municipalities- Rye City and the Village of Rye Brook. Built in Rye Brook, the sluice gate that has been years in the making has finally been completed.

Village, city, county and state officials celebrated the $2 million project's completion at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bowman Avenue Dam, just up the street from the Port Chester Middle School, on Wednesday, June 19.

"This really is about a partnership," said Rye City Mayor Douglas French at the

ceremony. He recalled that after being elected in 2009, County Executive Rob Astorino had invited him to a meeting where he asked municipal officials to tell him about their problems. "One problem we all had was flooding."

"When it floods, the water is up to here," said

French, pointing to above the 20-foot mark on the sluice gate, "and it is gushing downstream."

"It took a lot of people coming together," he said, to make this project happen.

Besides Astorino, he mentioned former Rye City Councilmen, former Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein and, "most importantly, the residents."

The sluice gate, he said, "is the start of our flood mitigation."

"What is a sluice gate?" is a question people often ask, French said.

It is a water channel, in this case Blind Brook, that is controlled at its beginning by a gate.

This sluice gate, funded by $400,000 from the state, about $375,000 from Rye City, $136,710 from Rye Brook and the balance from Westchester County, serves properties upstream and down.

"The gate will open up and pre-release some of the water and create more storage behind it," explained Rye Brook Village Administrator Chris Bradbury. It will not create more of a flooding problem upstream but will ease it downstream. He said it would help residents on Wyman Street and in Brookridge Court in Rye Brook during storm conditions.

The gate will remain open and the brook water flowing until it gets too high. Pre-set sensors will determine when it will close.

"They're trying to stop the flooding in my basement," said Bernie Bertholl of Rye, who said Blind Brook goes through his backyard. He has been actively working on this issue since the storms in 2007.

"This is one of those things we couldn't have done without the county and City of Rye," echoed Rye Brook Mayor Paul Rosenberg. "It will allow us to regulate the amount of water that flows downstream to Indian Village. Let's hope this doesn't get used that often, like a generator."

The sluice gate project is expected to come in under $2 million, but there is still no final accounting.

"It has taken a long time to get to this point," said French. "It doesn't end here." He said there would be continued safety measures downstream and that "this was the beginning of a process."

"I've been to a lot of ribbon cuttings," said Astorino. "This is my first sluice gate. I'm looking forward to never seeing it get to 20. May there be many, many years of non-flooding."

State representatives George Latimer and Steve Otis sent best wishes but were tied up in Albany at the end of their legislative session and could not attend.

The sluice gate has been tested during the last 30-60 days, said Scott Pickup, the Rye City manager. "There are still kinks, some monitoring issues" to be ironed out, he said.