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Lowville drainage spurs more complaints

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LOWVILLE — Business owners in the building on the northeast corner of State Street and Shady Avenue are upset about a lack of drainage in front of the property, a concern they say was brought to the village board eight months ago.

Barbara J. Simmons, owner of Marguerite’s Cranberry Emporium, said she voiced her concerns to Mayor Donna M. Smith in May and was encouraged to bring those concerns to the village board.

The minutes of the board’s June 6 meeting state pavers in front of the building were slanted incorrectly, causing water to pool on the sidewalk. Ms. Simmons said the board knew it would be an issue when the weather turned cold, but nothing was done.

Several sidewalk squares were replaced during the summer for cosmetic reasons, but that did not alleviate the issue of pooling water.

In September, the board again heard concerns about the area, this time with water not draining properly in front of the curb.

The state Department of Transportation’s Route 12 reconstruction project relocated a crosswalk from the corner to a spot a few feet north on the other side of a pre-existing drain.

“Since they moved the crosswalk, this is even worse,” building owner Michael W. Purvines said. The crosswalk is now at a lower elevation than the drain.

Mr. Purvines is forced to shovel several times a day, guiding the latest slushy mix to the drain.

It’s a problem that is compounded by cars parked legally on the street, which prevents village crews from plowing close to the curb, according to Mark Tabolt, superintendent of public works.

In November, Ms. Simmons complained to the village again, this time via a letter, which was read at the Dec. 5 meeting about the dangerous conditions the pooling water was causing.

Mrs. Smith has met with Kenneth Tousley, the DOT engineer in charge of field operations for the project, “a number of times,” as well as Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River.

The week before Christmas, Mrs. Smith said, she, Mr. Blankenbush and James A. Durkish, the north country representative of state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, walked the property in question to view the issues.

Later in the month, she witnessed the problem first-hand after snow and slush built up in the street and on the crosswalk.

“I would say there was about 6 inches of slush even after it had drained all day,” she reported to the board.

The board voted to send a letter to DOT; it was mailed this week.

“It spells out the problems and exactly what we are seeing. We are looking for a solution,” Mrs. Smith said. “Unfortunately, it’s not the time of year to make these repairs.”

In the meantime, business owners are taking extra precautions to keep the sidewalk clear and salted. Village attorney Mark G. Gebo pointed out that liability for the sidewalks and injuries that may occur there falls on the property owners.

“I don’t feel it’s fair to the business owners,” Mrs. Smith said. “Unfortunately, it’s not a village street; we have to go through the state.”

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