[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]

Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 7, 2008

Reservoir to be expanded
McKownville cellar breaks under pressure

By Saranac Hale Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Heavy with water after several days of rain, the ground around the Plant family’s McKownville home burst through their foundation last month.

“I just wrote it off to weird sounding thunder,” Laura Plant said of the late-night crash that brought down one of her basement walls.  Her oldest of six children also heard the rumble, but chalked it up to a younger sibling falling out of bed, she said.

The family discovered the hole the following morning, Plant said.  That Thursday, she and her husband were in the basement shoveling out the mud as their sump pumps were clogging with dirt. 

“It was coming in like a river,” she said.

They called for help.  The McKownville Fire Department pumped the basement and the Red Cross put the couple and seven children — their six and a girl who comes every summer from New York City in the Fresh Air Fund program — in a Best Western not far from their Providence Street home.

McKownville has a history of water problems, including the infamous and frequent flooding of Route 20 in front of Stuyvesant Plaza with heavy rains.  Since the latest storms, town highway crews have been investigating the drainage lines in that area, Supervisor Kenneth Runion said.  In some places, clay-tile pipe is deteriorating with age, he said, but the town installed new drainage on Providence Street three or four years ago.

Within the next week, the McKownville Neighborhood Improvement Association will distribute questionnaires to residents so that the town can gauge where the biggest problems are, Runion said.  “This will tie in with what we’re going to be doing at Stuyvesant Plaza,” he said.

With a total of $600,000 from the state’s Office of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Transportation, a grant through Assemblyman John McEneny, and funds from Stuyvesant Plaza, Runion said, the town will dedicate the land around the McKownville reservoir as parkland and expand it to hold another half-million gallons of water, which is about what spills onto Route 20 during a 10-year flood.

The town is to pay for any additional costs, beyond $600,000, Runion said, and the town’s engineers don’t expect that it will exceed $100,000.

Since their insurance won’t cover any of the cost, the Plants will likely have a bill between $13,000 and $15,000, Laura Plant quoted from a contractor’s recent estimate.

“It’s not like a refrigerator going,” she said.  “It’s a little over the top, budget-wise.”

Added to the cost of fixing the foundation are things like rebuilding the fence that had been connected to the house; reseeding the yard that was torn up; and fixing the driveway, which the family had repaved last summer, said Plant. 

“It’s so much more than what you think,” she added, after listing the related repairs.

Her family is grateful for the help it has gotten from friends and neighbors, Plant said.  “Everybody’s been great.”

Lindsey Plant’s cheerleading squad has organized to help the family, Plant said.  And one parent has donated a week-long time-share to be raffled off at a fund-raiser that the McKownville Neighborhood Association has planned at Sutter’s Mill restaurant on Aug. 24.  Tickets for the party, which will be from 4 to 6 p.m., are $10 and there is a Key Bank special deposit account in Ken and Laura Plant’s name that is currently accepting donations.

Plant, who volunteers with The Fresh Air Fund and The Ride for Missing Children, said with a shake of her head, “Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people.”

[Return to Home Page]