SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, AFTER HIS PUSH, HAWKINSVILLE DAM IN BOONVILLE WILL BE SAVED, NOT TORN DOWN; DECISION TO SAVE DAM WILL HELP PRESERVE WELL WATER LEVELS & ENHANCE SUMMER RECREATION SEASON SENATOR URGED NYS DEC TO WORK WITH LOCALS & DEVELOP PERMANENT PLAN TO PRESERVE HISTORIC DAM
Dam Operator Had Been Considering Tearing Down Hawkinsville Dam as Part of Study, Despite Overall A Grade; Schumer Urged NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation To Work With Dam Operator & Community to Save Dam
Local Economy Would Have Been Impacted If Hawkinsville Dam Were Torn Down Homeowners No Longer Facing Property Value Drop, Local Tourism & Recreation Decline
Schumer: Hawkinsville Dam Is A Boon To Local Economy & Here To Stay
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, after his push, the Hudson RiverBlack River Regulating District has unanimously voted to preserve the Hawkinsville Dam in Boonsville instead of tearing it down. The vote means an environmental assessment focused only on preservation will soon begin. In June, Schumer urged the regulating district and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to work together to save the dam after an ongoing study of the dam's impacts revealed that one option the District was considering was tearing the dam down altogether. Residents and local officials in the Town of Boonville, however, did not want the Hawkinsville Dam removed due to the critical role it plays in the local economy. If the dam were to be removed, there would likely no longer be still water for boating, swimming and fishing in the river, and water levels would likely be significantly reduced, which in turn would negatively impact shallow wells in the Town of Boonville. Schumer noted that even though the bridge is 100 years old, the DEC considers the bridge to be in solid structural condition. In fact, DEC recently reclassified the dam from a grade of "B" to a grade of "A," which means it is considered to be low hazard. Now, instead of tearing the dam down, the District will work with DEC and local Boonville officials to move forward with upgrades to the dam that will preserve it for the long term.
"There's no doubt about it, the Hawkinsville dam in Boonville will remain a staple of the Town for years to come," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. "Today's vote means the dam will be preserved and repaired for future generations and for our regional economy. Homeowners can rest easy knowing their property values will not fall; local tourists will keep flocking every summer; and the water supply for local wells will remain constant. I will continue to work with the town as restoration plans are finalized, and applaud the DEC and the regulating district for making the right call."
"Thanks to Senator Schumer, Boonville's interests were heard loud and clear by the regulating district overseeing the fate of the Hawkinsville dam, a fate that is now one of longevity," said Town Supervisor, John Gaylord. "Senator Schumer took up the cause of the dam and the cause of Boonville when he helped communicate all the benefits the dam provides to our community. Today's decision was the right one and the best one."
Schumer had been working with the Town since earlier this summer on preserving the dam and urged state DEC officials in June to work with the District, OneidaCounty and Boonville elected officials and residents to chart the best path forward for preserving the Hawkinsville dam, which is essential to local property values, recreation and tourism, and plays a key role in maintaining water levels in residential well systems. Schumer said that, with the recent DEC reclassification of the dam from a grade "B" to grade "A," there was no need to remove it entirely. Local studies that have been conducted since October 2010 have suggested that, even though the dam has insufficient spillway capacity, this problem can be mitigated with minor repairs that can preserve the dam. During a vote today, the regulating district committed to mitigate the dam instead of tearing it down.