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The West Seneca emergency manager's SUV pulled up on one side. The police chief's car angled in on the other, and AmeriCorps workers hefted a portable podium down in front of a tangle of sumac trees, ragweeds and briars.

West Seneca Supervisor Paul Clark stood by Cazenovia Creek in Mill Park to announce the town had completed its clerical duties in gathering all of the required easements to permit the Army Corps of Engineers to begin work on a project to tame the creek's late-winter floods.

"Chances are a whole, whole lot less that we're ever going to deal with this situation again," said Clark, referring to the flooding that has plagued the town in many years. "It's really a great day in West Seneca and South Buffalo."

Construction on the approximately $3 million project is expected to start this fall and take two to three months. The town and New York State will each pay 12.5 percent of the cost, with the Corps picking up the rest.

Plans call for finger-like piers to be embedded into the bedrock of the creek. They are each 5 feet in diameter and will be spaced about 12 feet apart.

The piers are intended to stop large ice floes, backing them up toward an area between Mill Park and Kotecki's Grove, until it can melt to a size the creek banks can handle.

The project will prevent flooding in the areas of Potter's Road, Cazenovia Creek and South Buffalo.

The project was proposed in 1998 but ran into a snag last year when the town was forced to get all the required easements before the project could begin.

The last barrier was getting an easement on a piece of Erie County property along the creek. That was surmounted last week when the Erie County Legislature approved turning over the property to the town.

The town officially turned the property over to New York State Monday.

"The state and the feds said, 'We need this now or else we're going to put this project off on hold,' " said Legislator Timothy Wroblewski. "Or else we would have had to put this project off until next year."

Clark, a candidate for Congress, invoked the name of William Marciniak in announcing progress on the project. The West Seneca resident was killed in 1981 when floodwaters caved in the basement of his house.


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