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Flooding at Myers ParkFlooding forced a concert cancellation a week ago at Myers Park. Photo by Karen Veaner

Thursday night the 'City Limits' concert at Myers Park was cancelled.  Torrential rains had subsided, but the park was flooded.  The next day rain pelted the area, floodwaters stranding cars and shoppers at the Shops at Ithaca Mall, lakeside properties, and overflowing streams, including Salmon Creek.  Area waterfalls were majestic, but that was little consolation to store owners and homeowners whose establishments were flooded.

"We had a couple of substantial issues in the Ludlowville area, which has been on the docket for some improvements at the end of this summer," says Lansing Town Highway Superintendent Charlie 'Cricket' Purcell.  "A couple of the bigger culverts were plugged, and water ran over the road.  Water ran through the foundation into the basement one house, clogging footer drains and doing some structural damage.  That was the worst damaged spot we had in the Town.  We had a lot of minor washes here and there, and a couple that were a little more substantial.  Nothing that closed roads, but a lot of little stuff."

The Village of Lansing was hit harder than the Town.  Town officials were pleased that the brand new storm drains on Myers Road performed well.  But in the Village storm drains were taxed with excess water.  Hartill said that stormwater flowed into the wastewater system, pushing about 5 million gallons per day of liquid through the Cayuga Heights Sewer Treatment Plant, which has a daily capacity of 2 million gallons.  He said the plant could come under New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) scrutiny if that happens twice in one month.

"The problem was that it rained something like three inches in an hour," said Village of Lansing Mayor Donald Hartill.  "There is no drainage system in the world that can accommodate that.  There's a lot of hard surface at the malls, so there's no place for it to go."

The east parking lot at the mall, which is in the Village of Lansing, filled with water, partially covering dozens of automobiles.  The Shannon Park neighborhood behind the mall also saw significant flooding.  Some of the stores, also flooding, closed early, including Target and Michael's.  Some shoppers were stranded for over an hour, while others waded barefoot to get to their cars that were sitting in eight inches of water.  Storm drains had such difficulty handling the volume of water that it began streaming upward from under the roads.

'The water was geysering up through cracks in the pavement, too," said Village trustee Ronny Hardaway.  "We're going to have some problems with that pavement."

Purcell says that Ludlowville was already scheduled for water mitigation later this summer, but now he plans to do as much as possible there as soon as possible.

"We're enlarging a couple of culverts," he says.  "We're going to do some riprap reinforcement.  We'll do some storm drain work and re-profile some of the road to make it a little more pedestrian and car friendly -- kind of like what we did on Myers Road.  We won't have the room to do what we did at Myers, but we'll make it more comfortable for people."

By this week the situation was improving, despite another torrential downpour Monday.

"Things seem to be stabilizing," Hartill said Monday night.  "There is certainly some work that has to be done.  We have some drainage structures that have to be fixed."

"Thursday and Friday there were a couple of hard hits for us," Purcell said Wednesday.  "But my heart goes out to those people in King Ferry and especially in Moravia.  They tried to put stuff back together and then two days later - boom!  There they were back to square one.  We've been fortunate.  We're back in pretty good shape now."

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