The historically frigid conditions over the past two weeks understandably resulted in complications for local municipalities, and the Village of Walden was hit with several water main breaks due to the plummeting temperatures. On New Year’s Day, Walden Village Manager John Revella informed residents that due to the breaks they might temporarily experience variations in water pressure and slight discoloration in their water supply, while noting that water was still safe to drink.
The Walden Department of Public Works labored quickly to fix the main breaks that popped up in the village. “Because of the cold weather we’ve had some larger ones unfortunately for us,” Revella said. “We noticed there was an issue because water production went up, and we went to see where the leak might be. We didn’t have anything noticeable on the roads and it ended up being in the woods near the rail trail. It was a larger water main break.”
While the village can only do so much to protect against water main breaks when the temperatures nosedive for prolonged periods, homeowners can take some preventative measures to hopefully guard against pipes bursting in their homes. “Really for us it’s wait and see,” Revella noted. “But for homeowners if they have issues in their homes it’s good to leave a little bit of water running. Especially at night when it’s a little bit colder and wind may be going against certain areas of the house that don’t have proper insulation.”
During the Village Board meeting on Jan. 2, the council unanimously decided to move forward with a plan to commit $125,000 in state funding to repair village sidewalks. Walden initially received a state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to upgrade the sidewalks on East Main Street, but the original plan had to be changed after the New York State Department of Transportation threw up numerous roadblocks in front of the original project, making it impossible to complete the task in the mandated period of time.
The village has decided to pivot to an alternative sidewalk location that’s eligible for the renovations. The exact spot for the work has not been pinpointed as of yet, but could start in the area of the elementary school and stretch along Walnut and Maple Streets. The board was given the option to possibly use the CDBG money for a sewer project instead, but opted to stick with sidewalk upgrades. “We could probably do sidewalks for the next 10 years and not get them all done,” Walden Mayor Susan Rumbold said. “It’s just wear and tear from the material that people put out on the sidewalks and stuff that flies up onto the sidewalks from the road. It just deteriorates the concrete, it gets pitted. It’s a constant process. When you get done, five or six years down the road you’re looking to go back and do the ones you did five years previously. It’s just a never-ending cycle.”
The sidewalk refurbishments are slated to be completed this year, pending approvals. “We have to send a resolution to the county for approval of the locations, and then we can go to bid,” Revella said. Under the current plan, the village would complete as many linear feet of sidewalks before they run out of funding, as the board wants to best utilize the state funding to bolster it’s infrastructure. “Whenever we get the money we’re constantly doing a sidewalk project,” Rumbold said. “It’s like streets, it’s just ongoing. You never get done with it.”
By Ted Remsnyder