May 1 , 2008


Starr Road Park prompts flooding concern

City residents downhill from park say it’s a problem


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Leaves and debris clog a lawn along Denti Way during heavy rain Monday. Rain water washes across Denti Way and floods many of the yards bordering the street. The city contends Starr Road Park is causing the flooding.

Staff Reporter

Starr Road Park, which officially opens Saturday in Cortlandville, is causing flooding issues downhill for some city residents.
Residents whose backyards meet with Denti Way are experiencing significant flooding coming from the park at times of winter thaw and heavy rain.
Chris Bistocchi, superintendent of the city Department of Public Works, said there was no flooding before the park was built.
“It’s happening at larger rainfall events,” Bistocchi said. “It’s happened three times since February.”
The flooding is caused because of the baseball fields. When the fields were built, the soil was compacted and no longer absorbs melting snow and rain like it used to.
“It’s cut itself a new path,” Bistocchi said of the water coming down into the city from the fields. “It forms into a sheet and flows over Denti Way into the backyards” of homes on south Main Street.
The flooding is also causing damage to the roadway, washing away the pavement. Cortlandville Town Board member Ted Testa, who is in charge of the park’s construction, said he doesn’t feel the park is the reason for the flooding.
“Water has always been running down there,” he said. “I don’t think the park had anything to do with it, personally, but we’re going to correct it.”
Testa added that several sites were examined for a park, and this location was chosen after other concepts fell through.
Thomas Minnard of 228 south Main St. has had his backyard flooded several times already this year.
“We’ve been here 18 years and never had water come across the yards like that,” Minnard said. “Water does a lot of damage and we certainly don’t need any of that.”
Water is coming down from the baseball fields, across the field behind the Cortland Cornerstone Church, over Denti Way and pooling in Minnard and his neighbor’s backyards.
Bistocchi said there is not much the city can do about the water, but he is talking with Cortlandville Highway Superintendent Carl Bush Jr. about possible solutions the town can implement at the park to control the flow of water into the city.
Bistocchi added that the city hopes to extend an 8-inch tall curb approximately 200 feet along Denti Way in June or July to help protect the backyards of homes.
“It’s a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,” he said.
Bush said when the flooding first became an issue for city residents, the town bought a reducer for the park’s stormwater detention basin, which slowed down the volume of water released at one time.
The reducer was placed in an 18-inch pipe that runs under Starr Road, making the diameter of the pipe 10 inches, Bush said. The town is now  looking into getting another reducer to make the diameter of the pipe 6 inches.
Testa said there is talk of building a retention pond at the park.