I would like to share information concerning an issue raised by the Rockland County Highway Department and Drainage Agency concerning Spook Rock Road in the area just south of Joy Road and the Antrim Playhouse. The specific area being addressed is the roadway that is adjacent to the privately owned dam that holds back the private lake on the east side of the road.
Spook Rock Road is a County road, which means that it is owned by Rockland County and they have responsibility for maintenance and repairs. The dam in that location is on private property. Nevertheless, Rockland County had been pressuring the Village to split the costs of repairs to the road (which is technically a culvert or bridge at that location) and to conduct repairs on the dam itself including replacing the spillway and adding a siphon that could be used to lower the level of the lake when a major storm is anticipated. The dam has been rated for years as an intermediate hazard by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation mostly due to brush growth on the upstream embankment, overgrowth on the downstream side, and the deterioration of the parapet wall that is part of the roadway.
The County told the Village that the residents of the area might be interested in closing Spook Rock Road which would allow the County to save money by not replacing the bridge. The County was told the Village that it was considering breaching the dam (which would drain the lake), so as not to have to take on the responsibility of maintaining it in the future. The Village was skeptical of the County’s assertions concerning the opinion of area residents on these issues and reached out to the residents who would be most affected by such changes, to solicit their opinions. Unsurprisingly, the residents of the area were mostly opposed to closing the road and to draining the lake.
The Village then let the County know that it expects the road/bridge to be maintained and repaired at the County’s cost and that the dam should not be breached. The Village suggested to the County that they should apply for a BridgeNY grant to pay for the repair and offered to assist the County in the grant application as the Village has experience in obtaining this grant (as we did for the culvert on Wesley Chapel Road at the intersection of Grandview Road).
As of this week, the County has informed the Village that they will not be closing Spook Rock Road, will be submitting a grant application to replace the bridge, and will not be addressing the deficiencies of the private dam. The Village plans to have a discussion with the owner of the property on which the dam is located concerning the deficiencies of the dam.
When I have additional updates, I will circulate them via the Village’s email list and the Village website.
Marshall Katz, Mayor