WILLIAMSVILLE, NY (July 15, 2022) – The Village Board during a special meeting on July 14 agreed with a 4-0 decision to transfer funding to allow for immediate repairs to the Ellicott Creek dam. (An update from July 20 is provided below.)
A decision to restore the dam to working order was made by the majority of the Village Board following their consideration of issues that are reportedly affecting quality of life for neighboring residents and employees of nearby businesses.
Members of the board who are seeking the dam repairs include Deputy Mayor Dan DeLano and trustees Mary Lowther, Eileen Torre, and Christine Hunt. Mayor Deb Rogers was unavailable to attend the special meeting due to a prior commitment.
The overall cost to repair the dam is $41,555. The village intends to enter an agreement with the Town of Amherst that would stipulate each municipality paying half, or roughly $20,777.
On July 8, Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa sent a letter to Mayor Deb Rogers requesting the village reconsider repairing the dam. In his correspondence, Kulpa said that due to the dry creek bed, employees at the Municipal Building have been noticing a strong odor of sulfur and nearby business owners have reported an increase in vermin sightings.
The dam, built in the early 1930s and located at the northeastern corner of Island Park, has not been in operation since last year. In March, the Village Board decided the dam would not be in use, declaring that the deteriorating structure causes a dangerous situation for village employees who physically raise and lower the gates.
As a result, of the gates remaining lifted, the creek bed in the western and northern channels has been dry. When the dam gates are installed, water is rerouted and fills in the areas that are currently empty.
Prior to the recent quality of life-related reports, the Village Board’s position was to not use the dam until a comprehensive engineering study of the dam and creek could be completed. In June, the village applied for a FEMA grant that, if awarded, would pay for 90% of the costs of the study.
Awardees of the FEMA grant are expected to be notified in the second half of summer; the village still intends to conduct a study should it receive the grant.
UPDATE: As of July 20, town and village officials are working with Department of Environmental Conservation representatives to have the repair plans approved. Once approved by DEC, the process can move forward. Further updates will be provided to the community as details become available.