Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hello from Baltimore

Hello from Baltimore!  After almost 8 years living in New Haven, CT, our family recently moved to Baltimore, MD.  We are settling in and meeting new neighbors and making new friends.  As in New Haven, I hope to be helpful in the varied roles I enjoy as a stay-at-home-Dad and "civic volunteer."

I hope the blogging I began in 2009, as I ran for Alderman to represent Ward 25 and our many friends and neighbors of Westville, will continue and be helpful to my new Baltimore neighbors of Stoneleigh.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Duck Pond Update - 6/2/12

Today, in weather more befitting the ducks, Mayor DeStefano welcomed friends, neighbors, dignitaries, and project partners to celebrate the West River Tidal Marsh Restoration project which included important components on the shores of the Edgewood Park Duck Pond.

The new Tide Gates will soon be fully operational but water is now flowing thru open gates.  From these pictures, one can see the new water level at high tide and how the path work and regrading still allow for good access to enjoy and use the Duck Pond as neighbors and visitors have for more than 100 years!

Volunteers helping to plant new native vegetation
Don Strait, executive director for the CFE/Save the Sound, spoke as his group led the project which included replacing the old tide gates and additional mitigation efforts at the Duck Pond to preserve access and enjoyment with the new tidal effect from the new tide gate configuration.  While allowing more tidal flow into the West River from the Long Island Sound the ecological benefits outweighed any inconvenience, however the regrading and boardwalk installation along the Duck Pond were necessary and appreciated efforts which mitigated most impediments to continued access and enjoyment of the Duck Pond feature within Edgewood Park.

Additional partners spoke including: Eric Schwaab, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- NOAA's federal grant dollars and project leadership was integral.  Congresswoman DeLauro, a representative from Senator Lieberman, CT DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty,  Restore America's Estuaries' Elsa Carlisle, CT State Senator Toni Harp, State Representative Walker, State Representative Pat Dillon also spoke and thanked all involved.

Attempting to fill FOEP president Semi Semi-Dikoko's shoes (absent due to illness), I closed the press conference part of the day's celebration by thanking - on behalf of the Friends of Edgewood Park  - all the partners involved, especially the team from CFE/Save the Sound for listening to and communicating with the Edgewood Park neighbors and friends throughout the project.

for earlier project updates and additional info: click here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Duck Pond Update 3/9/12

(click here for Project Plan and plan info)
CT Fund for the Environment's John Champion shares the following update:

The mild weather has enabled Schumack, the contractor at the Duck Pond, to make significant progress in the last month. On the west side of the river, near the soccer fields, the area that required re-grading in order to protect the fields from  elevated flows has had most of the work completed. What needs to be finished is the fine grading and raking and the seeding of the area. This work will be completed when the temperature gets to about 60 degrees and does not get too cold in the evening.

At the Duck Pond, the path leading from the bridge at the base of the Chapel St bridge has been shaped and brought to the rough grade to accept new asphalt, replacing the old that was removed. The forms for the concrete that will support the elevated boardwalk have been set. I expect concrete to be poured within a day or so. The edge of the pond has been reshaped and hardened (rocks and gravel installed) so that access to the Pond will be maintained when the SRTs are installed and functional and additional water is added to the system. An area that will serve as an open classroom and canoe launching site has been shaped and hardened. The outlines of the finished product are taking shape.

The phragmites along the river near the service road and the phragmites close to the Chapel and Boulevard area of the Pond have been cut down by DEEP. Phragmites is an invasive species and has invaded many areas along the river. Since it has a very strong root system, many treatments over a period of years will be required to permanently change the vegetation to a more native system.  Evidence of how the river eco system can be improved can be viewed at the river bank near the Barnard School bridge. The DEEP has been controlling the phragmites there for several years and the results open a vista that also provides access to the river.  

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, contact either John Champion or Gwen Macdonald at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, 203.787.0646. Thank you for your continued support and patience.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thanks Yale

Thanks Yale!  This week, Yale's contractors are replacing the fencing along Central Ave.  As one of the main routes into our neighborhood, I had asked them to replace the ugly chain link fencing.  I know the neighborhood appreciates this improvement!

Duck Pond Update: 2/9/12

2/9/12  Work continues at the Edgewood Duck Pond.  I'm helping to keep folks up-to-date on this project.  For more background on this project, please link to: Work Begins

John Champion shares the latest:

Either next week or the week after, DEEP is going to send a crew to cut down the Phragmites at the Duck Pond. I will not know until the morning of his visit what day he will be out there. On the east side of the river, he will access the work area from the service road on the Boulevard. On the west side of the river, he will need to access the work area through the Parks Headquarters parking lot. I advised him that should check in at the front desk to gain access. He will be doing cutting and does not think that it will take a significant amount of time.  

This will be a long process and this cutting is the first step. I did point out the plantings on the east side of the pond that he needed to be careful around and he seemed confident that he would cause no collateral damage. For an example of what the result may be, you could take a look at the area next to the river on the south side of route 34. The view of the river has been restored and the open area is a big improvement. 

Other information this week-Terry Contracting has begun to move equipment into place on route 1 in preparation to start investigating the concrete apron at the tide gates. This apron was installed at the time that the original tide gates were built and Terry has to work around it in some way to install the coffer dam. They have also completed submittals for the 48” stainless steel pipes which are now ordered. All of the submittals for the DOT permit have been submitted and we expect that the steel for the cofferdams is going to be delivered this week and next week.

Schumack construction (the contractor at the Duck Pond) has installed a silt fence on the west side of the river in preparation for the delivery of soil to build up the area that may too low to prevent some minor flooding of the soccer fields. They intend to grade that area next week when/if the ground freezes so that access area is not chewed up and damages the field. MMI inspected the layout of the pathway and boardwalk this week and requested that the surveyor return and stake out the center line of the path is several additional areas. The City Plan Dept, Parks and MMI have approved a change in design to the railing of the boardwalk so that it is less bulky and will require less maintenance. CFE will negotiate these changes with Schumack.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Work Starts on the West River Restoration Project

Edgewood Park Duck Pond Improvements - Layout Plan
I'm helping to keep the neighborhood up-to-date on this project.  Connecticut Fund for the Environment is managing this project and working in close cooperation with the City and Friends of Edgewood Park (FOEP).  Here are a couple pix and the Layout Plan (click here for pdf) of the work just begun around the Edgewood Park Duck Pond and a brief overview of the project from Save the Sound's John Champion:

               The construction of two restoration projects on the West River began early in January. Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, is managing the projects which are funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the American Recovery and Restoration Act.
                The first project will install three self-regulating tide gates just below Orange Avenue. These tide gates will replace three of the wooden flapper type gates that were installed circa 1920. The new gates will allow more salt water to enter the West River, which will begin to restore the natural habitat.

                The second project will insure that we maintain public access to the amenities of the Duck Pond at Chapel Street. One effect of the self-regulating gates is that the tidal fluctuation at the Duck Pond will result in a soggier area, especially at high tide. Continued access will be provided by a raised walkway and a boardwalk. Water will flow under the boardwalk as the tide ebbs and flows.  Dead trees have been removed and at the conclusion of the project, native vegetation will be planted.
                Terry Contracting & Materials, Inc. is doing the work on the tide gates and Schumack Engineered Construction is doing the work on the Duck Pond. Because of the warm weather, the work on the Duck Pond has started and the project is expected to be completed in mid-spring, depending on the weather conditions. The work on the tide gates will follow approximately the same schedule but the gates will not be opened until the work on the Duck Pond has been completed so that additional water does not enter the system until the access project is complete.
                Milone and MacBroom are the project engineers. Questions regarding the work on the project may be addressed to John Champion from Save the Sound at 203.787.0646, extension 101.   

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!  I've truly enjoyed helping as the Alderman for Ward 25 for the past two years.  The torch passed Sunday, Jan. 1st, at noon to Adam.

Alderman Marchand, Alderman Ward 25
203-843-8102 cell
Office Hours: Wednesday, 8:30 to 10 am, Deja Brew
Occasional evening office hours to be announced

I'm going to keep the blog going and hope to stay in touch and continue to be helpful.