West Seneca to Consider Buffalo Creek Water Study

WEST SENECA, NY - In the past six weeks, there have been two floods in West Seneca -- the first one damaged 70 homes causing thousands of dollars in damage. The second flood last Friday reminded everyone of the first flood.

Prior to this, flooding hasn't occurred in the town in more than 30 years.

And now, it's up to town, state and federal agencies to find out what needs to be fixed.

"Every winter, I will be afraid, but what are you going to do? You just prepare for it and hope it don't happen," said Jonny Robbins, a West Seneca resident.

The flooding from Buffalo Creek last Friday impacted backyards, front lawns and a few streets in the Lexington Green area of town and this caused enough of a scare for Robbins and dozens of other town residents.

During last month's flood, a car and a motorcycle of his were both damaged. The flooding also caused a wall to collapse in his basement. Some fixes to Robbins' home have been made and he's still living here.

"This neighborhood needs a long term solution this could happen again, it could happen in fifty years, it could happen again next year who knows," Robbins said.

West Seneca officials are trying to find out what that solution is.

The town's supervisor Sheila Meegan says the berm that travels along Buffalo Creek by the Lexington Green neighborhood either isn't high enough or long enough. A berm is essentially a ledge that should prevent the water from overflowing. Meegan thinks the berm needs to cover the bank nearest to the neighborhood.

On Monday night, at 7 p.m., the town board will consider whether to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to study how much of a threat this part of the creek is to residents. Assemblymember Mickey Kearns supports the approval. He's also urging Gov. Cuomo to release nearly a million dollars in financial aid to West Seneca.

"I do believe the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government has to do initial testing to find out whether people should stay in this neighborhood," Kearns said.

Bruce Sanders, a spokesperson for the Corps says it's "committed to working with others in an open and transparent way to develop technically sound, economically justified and environmentally sustainable solutions."

These solutions could be found after a study is done. The Corps gives no timetable on how long it would take to find out what improvements need to be made here.

Buffalo Creek is ice jammed now, but it is cracking.

If the town board's plan is approved, the federal government would cover all costs up to $100,000 of the study. The federal government and West Seneca would share any costs more than $100,000.

The governor is considering buyouts for flood victims.


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