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Town of Delaware to move highway department

By Kevin Kearney
December 26, 2012

Town of Delaware officials on December 19 unanimously adopted a resolution allowing them to move forward with a plan to purchase land for the relocation of the highway department. The estimated cost is $100,000.

The next move is for town officials to plot out the proposed new location, which is on State Route 17B in Hortonville, just past the John H. Eschenberg Inc., building.

The highway department is currently housed at the town barn on Route 17B, in a flood plain. Joe Brook flows out of the Beechwoods to meet Callicoon Creek, which is adjacent to the barn.

Highway superintendent Bill Eschenberg was adamant that a move needs to be made, as the repeated flooding has taken a toll on the property and his patience. He said that on several occasions he’s watched as pipes and other equipment flowed down Callicoon Creek during flooding.

“I think it’s time to do something. For 13 years I’ve crawled through water. It’s done; it’s over, before someone gets killed. You’re not going to beat Mother Nature,” Eschenberg said.

Supervisor Ed Sykes agreed, saying, “It is a terrible location.” He also said the garage is in need of repair. “It’s in bad shape.”

Eschenberg said that, in addition to the flooding problems, the department has outgrown the barn.

The proposed new location is between three and five acres—more than double the size of the current site. Sykes said the council will seek grants for the project, but it has to own the property in order to be eligible. He said there is enough surplus in the budget for the purchase.

Townsperson Kay Rosenberger, who lives adjacent to the property on which the department wants to move, voiced her concerns over the proposed relocation. “We want to make sure our property value is maintained.”

Rosenberger also said she doesn’t want to have to worry about containment issues, or the possibility of the land being used for a transfer station. “We don’t want to be smelling garbage when we’re sitting in our backyard,” she told the board.

Councilman John Gain said, “I would not be in favor of a transfer station there.” His colleagues agreed. Gain added that, in order to ease any concerns among townspeople, the project proposal could also be brought before the town planning board.

Sykes added that they plan to do landscaping around the proposed new location to make it “more palatable” for neighbors. Sykes said that the project has been years in the making and had received support from prior administrations.
It was unclear what would happen to the barn location if a move were made.