Town eyes pond dredging project


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The pond in Veterans Memorial Park is covered with a green film of algae and water levels are very low. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

GREENVILLE — The pond in the center of Greenville is filled with green algae and water levels are low, so the town is looking to drain, dredge and refill it.

The water, located in Veterans Memorial Park at the intersection of Routes 32 and 81, is at a very low level due to the summer’s drought. In fact, the water is so low that in the center of the pond there is a small “island” of greenery that is normally under water.

A green film of algae also covers the top of the pond.

The town is looking to dredge the pond and clean it out. Pond dredging involves collecting and removing sediment and other materials that have accumulated in the water.

The town council put the project out to bid but did not receive any responses from contractors. At the Aug. 15 meeting of the board officials decided to put the project out to bid a second time and look at doing the work in-house as well.

The last time the pond was dredged was in 1997, Water Superintendent Leroy Bear said.

Water levels are several feet lower than usual due to a lack of rain and the drought that prompted a statewide alert to conserve water.

“We might as well open it up and let it drain,” Town Supervisor Paul Macko said of the pond. “There’s hardly any water in there now.”

No bids for the dredging project came in. Town Councilman Travis Richards asked about doing the project with town resources instead.

“Is it feasible that we do it ourselves, seeing as how no one bid the last time?” Richards asked.

Macko responded that it could be done.

“We could drain the pond and then dump some fill material in for a base to back the excavator in,” Macko said. “We’ve known we had a problem for the last couple of years and this year, being such a dry summer, it’s kind of complicated the problem because the water table in the pond is down about 3 feet.”

Macko jokingly referred to the water that remains in the pond as “pea soup.”

The town will have to get a permit from the state’s Army Corps of Engineers to perform any work on the pond, but Macko said the town council is looking to complete the project within the next couple of months. There has been pressure from some in the community on social media about the condition of the pond.

“We definitely want to get it done this year — we have really been getting beat up on Facebook,” Macko said.

Town Councilman John Bensen said it would be preferable to get the pond dredged and refilled before Greenville Day weekend, which will be held Sept. 23 and 24, but Macko said he didn’t think that was enough time to get the job done.

Richards said dredging the pond when the water level is low and there is very little rain would make the project easier.

“This is probably the best time to do this considering it is so dry — we don’t have to fight with the water because there is no water coming in,” Richards said.

He wanted to know if the town could rebid the project a second time and at the same time look at doing the dredging in-house.

Having several options would be a good idea, and the town can accept or reject any bid that may come in, Macko said.

“You can bid it out and if things don’t work out and we can’t get to it, at least we will have another option,” the town supervisor said. “It’s probably best to have two options so we can have all our bases covered that way.”

Bids for the project are expected to be opened by the board Sept. 12.

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