Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Manor board moves to apply for grants to part-fund $2.2 million in stormwater sewer repairs

Trustees’ vote to join Climate Smart program opens door to state money for projects
One grant would part-fund a joint project with New Rochelle to replace a storm sewer line along Mount Tom Road.

The Village of Pelham Manor Board of Trustees voted July 10 to apply for grants under the state’s Climate Smart Communities program to help fund two major projects detailed in an engineering report that recommended millions of dollars in repairs to the municipality’s stormwater sewer system.

The grants could provide 50% of the $1 million needed to replace the sewer line near Monroe Avenue and Hunter Avenue and $1.2 million to install a new 48-inch pipe along Mount Tom Road in partnership with the City of New Rochelle. Cost estimates come from the AI Engineers/Dolph Rotfeld Engineering Division report on the stormwater system issued last month.

Before voting to apply for the grants, the village board adopted New York State’s Climate Smart Communities Pledge, joining a program that helps localities adapt to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

“We have been looking at the climate framework for a while,” said Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey. “This is a board that takes its time. It fits nicely and dovetails with much of our important work. This is a board that is committed to sustainable practices.”

Timing was certainly critical in the board’s sudden move to become a Climate Smart Community, as it could not apply for the grants for the sewer projects without doing so first. Established in 2009, the Climate Smart program has signed up 384 municipalities across the state, including 40 in Westchester County already participating, the Village of Pelham among them.

“By adopting this officially, we have been doing so much work by formalizing it,” said Monachino Lapey. “This allows us to apply for certain grants and explore additional opportunities that might not be as readily available.”

The Village-Wide Drainage Infrastructure Assessment prepared by AI Engineers/Dolph Rotfeld Engineering Division reported the village needed at least $7.9 million worth of work to reduce flooding that has plagued three areas of the municipality for years, including work that will require cooperation with New York City, the City of New Rochelle and the Pelham Union Free School District.

“I feel our (grant) applications are strong given the village-wide drainage assessment,” said Village Manager Lindsey Luft. “It provides all of the things that are required to submit. There are not many communities around Westchester that have proactively taken action like the one we just completed.”

Before both projects can be undertaken, work will be required with the other municipalities where the water flows: Replacing a culvert under a bridal path in New York City’s Pelham Bay Park that is pitched back towards the waterflow for the Monroe-Hunter avenues sewer line and with New Rochelle on an open channel in the city where the water from the Mount Tom pipe exits the system.

Pelham Bay Park’s administration

“We are actively working with Pelham Bay Park’s administration on the downstream-to-upstream concept and continuously communicate the necessity of lowering the dual culverts at the bridal path,” said Luft in an email interview. “Numerous entities are involved in this conversation as this back pitch at the bridal path also directly increases the rate at which sediment builds up in the New York State Thruway Authority dual culverts under I-95.”

Captain Steven Costa (center in uniform) with family and village officials.

“I have had numerous conversations with the (City of New Rochelle) and look forward to working with them” on the Mount Tom project, she said. The city “is actively working on addressing challenges” where the water leaves the pipe.

Another problem identified by the Dolph Rotfeld Engineering report is a sanitary sewer main that passes directly through a stormwater manhole under the school district’s Glover Field, causing rainwater to back up into the Wolfs Lane area during heavy storms. The village said in a statement after the meeting it is working with the school system to gain access to the area with the intersecting pipes.

Luft is also preparing to make FEMA grant applications in the fall, the statement said.

Earlier in the meeting, Steven Costa was sworn in as the new fire captain. Costa graduated from Pelham Memorial High School and previously worked in construction as a heavy equipment, highway and utility worker. He began his career in Pelham Manor as a volunteer firefighter in 2007 and was hired as a career firefighter in 2009. He holds a National Fire Officer 1 Certification and Electrical Certifications 1 and 2. In January, Costa will attend first-line officer school in New York City. 

It’s a “wonderful announcement about the promotion of Steven Costa to fire captain,” Monachino Lapey said. “We are really here tonight to acknowledge the advancements of the fire department including picking Costa for captain.”

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Phoebe Schwarz, Senior Editor
Phoebe Schwarz is a senior at the Harvey School. She loves to write and edit and has been involved in the yearbook production at school, where she has earned the role of co-editor-in-chief of the Harvey Yearbook. She is a member of the school's volleyball and lacrosse teams. She has enjoyed being a part of the Examiner since 2020, and can not wait to see what happens in her final year on the Examiner as Deputy Managing Editor!

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