City officials cautiously optimistic as water recedes in flooded areas of Ithaca's northside

January 12, 2014

"Efforts to clear the ice jams in Cascadilla and Fall Creek are working," City officials announced on Sunday afternoon, saying they are "cautiously optimistic but are reminding residents of low-lying areas to continue to monitor changes in water levels."

Water levels receding in area creeks. Photo provided by Ithaca Fire Department.Water levels receding in area creeks. Photo provided by Ithaca Fire Department.Ithaca's Waterfront Trail is closed from the area of Willow Avenue and the Haunt to Stewart Park. Deep holes are covered by ice and water, and the trail will remain closed until the damage can be repaired. The park and trail areas along Fall Creek and Cascadilla Creek are also closed due to the remaining dangers of high water flow rates and chunks of ice continuing to head downstream.

Mayor Svante Myrick says that though the ice jams that affected Ithaca this week are a rare event, "we are already exploring every option that could prevent these from impacting homeowners in the future." He says the City Historian found similar occurrences in 1912, 1935, and 1943, all before the Army Corps of Engineers built the system of flood control channels that route water from the area's hills and creeks to Cayuga Lake.

On his Facebook page, Mayor Myrick says dredging of the system of flood control channels hasn't occurred in four decades, and is overdue. "We've already secured $13 million for dredging and plan to begin work this year," the Mayor adds. Work was to have begun last year, using state funds allocated by Governor Cuomo, but was delayed while officials explored options for safely disposing of sediment dredged from the creeks.

"Normal parking has resumed in the Fall Creek area," says the Ithaca Fire Department. City officials waived the 24-hour parking limit in the Seneca Street and Green Street garages over the weekend for northside residents who wanted to move their cars downtown to get them out of the way. The garages return to normal at 8am on Monday, as well. Anyone whose car is parked in the garages will need to remove them by 8am Monday to avoid paying for parking at weekday rates.

"Our DPW, IPD, IFD, and City Hall staff worked tirelessly for six straight days to keep everyone safe while breaking up the jams," the Mayor says. "Neighborhood volunteers from all over the County came together to fill and distribute thousands of sand bags."

The City suggests residents who obtained sandbags this week should keep them for possible future use. Residents who would still like to obtain sandbags can still pick them up at three staging areas: the Neighborhood Pride grocery store parking lot on Hancock Street, Northstar Pub at the corner of North Tioga and East Falls Streets, and Hickey's Music at the corner of Dey and Adams Streets.

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