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Boards updated on GIS mapping project

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BLACK RIVER — Municipal boards were updated Monday on the geographic information system mapping projects being conducted by the Development Authority of the North Country.

The project maps the municipalities’ infrastructure, including water and sewer lines

According to David B. Cook, DANC GIS analyst, funding for the projects came from the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund administered through the state Archives.

The village of Black River and the towns of Champion and Wilna are taking part in the project through a $66,904 grant with the towns of Rutland, LeRay and Pamelia and the villages of Antwerp, Theresa and Sackets Harbor. Antwerp is the lead agency on the grant and DANC is offering technical assistance. There is no cost to the municipalities.

Mr. Cook showed the Black River trustees how the mapping system works. He pointed out the symbols used to denote laterals, curb stops and backup wells in the water system. Using data from Jefferson County Real Property included in the mapping, individual homeowners can be identified.

Mr. Cook said in the event of a water line break, a village worker can pinpoint the leak and print a copy of the map to easily find the shut-off valve.

“There is a lot of functionality,” Mr. Cook said.

The data also could be used by developers, to determine the best location for construction.

Village Department of Public Works Superintendent Steven L. Lillie said the system was a “great tool.” He pointed out that although he knows the village’s infrastructure, newcomers would not.

“Ten years down the road, when there are new faces, it will be more useful then,” Mr. Lillie said.

Mr. Cook said the mapping can be updated as the infrastructure changes. A handheld global positioning system was to be included in the grant to ease updates; however, it was excluded. Mr. Cook said device costs $15,000 to $30,000, but costs could be shared with other municipalities.

Following the Black River meeting, Mr. Cook gave his presentation to the Champion Town Council.

“It’s outstanding — beneficial to anyone involved with the water project. You can find shut-offs, valves — it will show you right where they are,” Town Supervisor Terry L. Buckley said of the presentation. He also said the mapping will “finish the circle” in inventorying assets for Governmental Accounting Standards Board requirements certification that is required for U.S. Department of Agriculture funding.

The supervisor said the GIS mapping data will be especially useful to the Planning Board and developers.

Mr. Cook said the project should be completed by June. Black River’s portion is nearly complete, with just a few curb stops to be located and storm water mapping to be completed. In Champion, all of the water districts are complete and the sewer is done except for Great Bend. Mr. Cook is scheduled to meet with the Wilna Town Council on Monday. That project is complete in Natural Bridge and has only a small district outside of Carthage to be inputted, according to Mr. Cook.

The DANC engineer said a similar project is in the works for St. Lawrence County. With the village of Fine as the lead agent, the $32,640 project includes the towns of Colton, Clifton and Parishville and the village of Harrisville. In the future the city of Ogdensburg will lead off for the mapping of communities along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“It helps form knowledge perpetuation since intelligent knowledge is lost as officials leave, and it will increase access to critical infrastructure,” Mr. Cook said. “It’s a proactive step which will aid in expansion and rehabilitation.”

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