“Replace the current sewer line on Bayard (Street). It’s worth the extra money and inconvenience.”
“It’s a great asset that needs preservation.”
Both of those sentiments, voiced at a public hearing last week, refer to the ongoing controversy about whether to install a new sewer line underneath the Ludovico Sculpture Trail in Seneca Falls. The town is considering eminent domain as a means of moving forward, due to the fact an agreement has not been — and likely never will be — worked out with the trail’s board of directors.
The first statement came from Margaret Puscamens, the daughter of Wilhelmina Puscamens, who founded the trail. It’s understandable why she would not want to see the trail disturbed. Those are her mother’s wishes.
Former town resident Allison Stokes, who remains active in Seneca Falls affairs, echoed Ms. Puscamens’ thoughts about the importance of leaving the trail be.
We aren’t sure which is worse: a plausible idea drawing this type of reaction or the apparent lack of trust residents have in town government.
The proposal itself — using directional boring that would minimize the impact on the trail and provide the most cost-effective way to upgrade an inadequate sewer system — seems reasonable. While Ms. Puscamens’ assertion that the Bayard Street option is the best way to go, we view the potential extra cost to taxpayers and the resulting traffic disruptions as unnecessary.
However, if what Sheila Chalifoux, the attorney representing trail advocates, said Thursday is true do not be surprised if this matter ends up in court. Chalifoux maintained the State Environmental Quality Review process wasn’t followed properly, blaming it on the project’s engineers.
We’d like to believe the town would have opted for eminent domain only after making sure everything related to the project was on the up and up, but there are recent examples of governmental missteps to suggest otherwise.
No matter which side you support, this has morphed into another mess in a municipality that’s had its share of them.