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Where we live: Lackawanna

Lackawanna

A Sharon Avenue homeowner concerned about the continued erosion of Smokes Creek told lawmakers Monday that he and others downstream face “impending catastrophe” unless city officials remedy the situation.

“We have lost 20 feet of our back yard,” said Tom DiVito. “Our neighbor now has a new crack in his basement. He has no yard left.”

The Army Corps of Engineers completed the flood control in the early ‘70s, and transferred responsibility for completing the project to the city. Since then the creek bed widened from 30 to 50 feet and nothing was done to stop it, said DiVito, a 27-year resident.

“With each rain we have a whirlpool from the redirected flow of water that chews at the creek bank and the ground collapses into the creek,” said DiVito. Dredging will have no effect. The damage is done.”

In 2013, a team of federal, state and local engineers and Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski surveyed the situation, according to DiVito. Work was expected to begin in Spring 2015 but a lack of funding thwarted the plan.

Council President Keith Lewis who was familiar with the issue forwarded the case to City Attorney Antonio Savagilo.