Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Running water caused the bank of a gully to collapse in June 2015 along the northern edge of St. Mary’s Cemetery. Runoff from storms filled the northern side of the cemetery with rocks and debris.
Plans submitted to repair St. Mary’s flooding damage
A landowner has submitted to the state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to restore damage at St. Mary’s Cemetery, caused by flooding caused by work done on his property in 2012.
Amidst the grave stones and mausoleums of St. Mary’s Cemetery, a trench caused by storm water runoff has been carved into the northern edge of the property. Two grave stones sit alone along the edge of the trench while one marker has been removed. This was the scene Wednesday morning during a visit to the cemetery.
The problems linger from work done by Cortlandville landowner James C. Stevens III in 2012 when he installed a drainage basin on his Ridgeview Avenue property, which redirected water to the nearby cemetery on Route 281 in Cortland.
Stevens said at the time that the work he undertook on his property was part of a larger effort to mitigate flooding elsewhere, specifically along Route 281, Wheeler Avenue and West Main Street. According to Stevens at the time, then-mayor Tom Gallagher had asked him to help remedy the situation. Stevens said he also involved the diocese and that the work he undertook was done in good faith to prevent future flooding.
In 2013, due to the work the cemetery was overwhelmed with storm water, causing toppled tombstones and unearthed graves. It also carved a deep gash along the north side of the property while flooding portions of the adjacent highway.