ludlowville120Ludlowville is a bowl in the topography of Lansing that catches water and floods homes and properties.  In 2008 the Tompkins County Planning Department initialed a Ludlowville Stormwater Control Project that planners hoped would reduce or stop flooding in the hamlet.  Senior Planner Scott Doyle held meetings in 2008 and 2009 to get input from residents with an eye toward implementing solutions in 2012.  Doyle and Barton & Loguidice engineer David Hanny was back in Lansing Monday to present a plan they say will keep Ludlowville dry.

"This has been a very long development project," Doyle said.  "There have been delays with state and federal funding, but I think we're closer to a point where we can get some of the work done."

The funding for studying the problem and developing the plan came from a $480,000 grant, half of which comes from state funding, and the other half by local in-kind labor by Tompkins County and the Town of Lansing. 

ludflood_maptableScott Doyle (left) listens as Ken Davis explains how water flows downhill into Sarah Kane's property and down into the hamlet of Ludlowville

Doyle and Hanny solicited more input from residents before implementing two solutions he hopes will solve core problems that cause the flooding.  The first part of the project is a stream stabilization plan in an area that has suffered significant flood damage and contributes to flooding down the Ludlowville Road hill and down along Mill Street.

"If anybody has any doubts about how important storm water is, you should look at the Taylor's house on the corner of 34B and Ludlowville Road," says Town Councilman Ed LaVigne.  As you look across the road you see a pipe sticking out into a huge ditch.  They had eight more feet attached to that pipe at one time.  You have about 12 feet of ditch you could have jumped over before, and then you have a chasm.  They lost about eight to ten feet of their yard, because water pour down to Ludlowville and found its way over there."

The stream stabilization project on the Taylor property is on hold until $120,000 of federal FEMA funds are released.  That project will involve digging stepped retention pools in the stream, causing a kind of rippling fall of water that is slowed by each indentation.  Doyle says that the sides of the stream will be reinforced with live foliage as well.

Further up the slope a detention pond is designed to capture flood water, much of which flows over fields from Bensview Dairy Farm.  The pond is designed to catch water before it flows overland to Ludlowville, then release it slowly using a concrete drainage structure.


Cheryl Hall and Ken Davis accompanied Sarah Kane to monday's meeting.  Kane's property has suffered serious flooding and erosion problems.  Davis said that a combination of bad modifications to culverts and ditches and neglect of existing culverts have caused most of the flooding in Ludlowville.  He questioned the plan, and provided specific information that Doyle and Hanny are now considering as they adjust their final plan.

Doyle agreed that maintenance is a key element in making the plan work.

"From what we've heard so far the improvements that make sense for reducing impacts for the most amount of folks are the detention pond and the stream drainage.," he said.  "Without a doubt nothing works unless it's maintained."