Broome County looks to upgrade from 2011 floods

By Perry Russom

February 26, 2014 Updated Feb 26, 2014 at 12:50 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Broome County is taking the final steps in locking up millions of dollars in flood mitigation from NY Rising.

A public meeting was held Tuesday night at the Broome County Library to discuss some of the specific improvements the county is hoping to accomplish.

The county could get up to $21.6 million from the state in making upgrades to prevent future flooding.

The potential money is broken up into seven different areas: Binghamton, Vestal, Town of Union, Endicott, Johnson City, Conklin and Town of Chenango.

First, the priority projects have to be completed. They include drainage improvement, bank restoration along streams and various pump station improvements.

"We're a lot further ahead than when we started," said Vincent Pasquale, chairman of NY Rising Broome Count. "I think we have a reasonable plan. We've looked at ways to integrate projects between municipalities."

Officials are also looking at a few projects regionally. They include a regional emergency shelter and a study of the Susquehanna River basin with surrounding counties.

Down the road, the county is looking to make some major changes with what they're calling "feature" projects.

One of the projects looks at the Oakdale Mall on Reynolds Road in Johnson City.

In 2011, flood waters raced down the road and ripped up the mall's parking lot.

A possibility is to put underground storage tanks where flood waters can collect as it runs down the road.

Another plan is at the BAE site in the Town of Union.

There, they are looking to build elevated buildings to house stores, homes or a satellite campus for a local college.

"It's probably not going to be the case that all of those featured projects will be funded," said Pasquale. "It's probably not the case that those specific renditions will end up being affected, but they're things to think about."

The focus is building more green areas to absorb water in neighborhoods, parking lots or wherever land is sitting vacant.

The feature project plans will be addressed with whatever money is left over after the primary projects are complete.

Final plans for the primary projects are due at the end of March.