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Don’t Panic, The Village is not Built on Pillars of Sand, Ardsley is in Good Hands - The Ardsley Flood Control Project
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
Almost every culture: Aztec, Buddhist, Chinese, Christian, Greek, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Norse Culture which is commonly referred to as, “Viking Culture,” etc has an account of a great flood. While the details differ greatly as to who or what caused the flood, how long the flood lasted, and how those who survived accomplished this feat, there is one constant throughout them all. This flood killed almost all life on the planet and greatly changed the shape of the natural landscape. The universality of this story speaks to the destructive power not only of this particular flood, but, also of floods in general. Therefore, if at all possible, flooding should be prevented. The Village of Ardsley has existed since 1896. For decades, the village had a serious flooding problem including key roadways such as Route 9A. One such flood of 9A occurred in 1956 (Dobbs Ferry Sentinel July 18, 1968).
Photo Credit: Westchester County Historical Society- A flooded Route 9A
While the authors aren’t sure when the above photo was taken, it clearly shows how damaging these frequent floods were to Ardsley. With this in mind, we now turn our attention to what Ardsley has done to address flooding.
The Ardsley Flood Control Project:
Beginning in August of 1987 the village did a massive Flood Control Project (FCP). The village was assisted in the FCP by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (ARDSLEY FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION PROJECT).
The project was divided into three sections called, “reaches,” in the official report of the project:
The Downstream Reach consisted of a 20 foot-wide path in the shape of a trapezoid spanning from the Elm Street Bridge to the Saw Mill River Parkway Bridge.
The Middle Reach from the New York State Thruway to the Ashford Avenue Viaduct consists of improving the masonry and brickwork. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines viaduct as “a long bridge-like structure, typically a series of arches, or columns carrying a road or railroad across a valley or other low ground.
Attentive readers of our articles will probably notice a similarity between this word and the word, “trestle” which we mentioned in our article Joy and Innocence, Mischief and Fear: Halloween in the 20th Century In Greenburgh. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines trestle as “a braced framework of timbers, piles, or steelwork serving as a support for carrying a road or railroad over a depression.
What is the difference between these terms? The authors are not entirely sure, having never taken any Civil Engineering courses, but it appears to be one of distance rather than function, meaning that both structures give support to roads and railroads over low ground, but a trestle is for short distances, whereas, a viaduct is for long distances.
The Upstream Reach consists of improvements to the14ft high X 1,160 foot long wall on the left bank of the Ashford Avenue Viaduct that ties into high ground adjacent to the New York City blowoff tunnel headwall (ARDSLEY FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION PROJECT).
The project concluded in November of 1989 (ARDSLEY FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION PROJECT). The project has been a success! It has prevented much flooding of the downtown business district. Village of Ardsley Stormwater Manager Lorraine Kuhn says, “Since the completion of the FCP, flooding has very rarely reached the level of Route 9A. Thus, the FCP is certainly a success. Maintenance has since been performed again in 2019 and is due this fall 2022.” (Personal Communication from Village of Ardsley Stormwater Manager Lorraine Kuhn).
In conclusion, flooding may come to Westchester, but Ardsley residents need not be afraid because the Village of Ardsley will be ready for the water, if floods do come.
Previous Slices of History include:
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at email@example.com
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at email@example.com.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Intrator, J. (1968, July 18). Ardsley Asks Autumn Airing on Saw Mill River Flood Control. Dobbs Ferry Sentinel, p. 1.
United States Army Corps of Engineers. (1989). Ardsley Flood Damage Reduction Project. Town of Greenburgh: Village of Ardsley.