Still water breeds problems in Ramapo


Ullman talks to residents after the meeting

Unlike last month’s near-empty boardroom, the Town of Ramapo’s August 9 meeting drew many residents, mostly from the ultra-Orthodox community in Monsey,  who are asking that two roads—Decatur and Herrick Avenues—be changed from two-way to one-way because both roads are congested with adults, children, cars and school busses.  

Apparently, many drivers disregard the speed limit, and the many children on both streets are in harm’s way due to drivers’ need to speed. Mothers came forward to tell interim Supervisor Yitzchok Ullman the situation is grim, and Ullman agreed.  

The push is on to have change from two-way to one-way sped up “before school and the Jewish holidays begin in September, he told The Rockland Times. The engineer who did the original traffic study, Michael Galante of Frederick Clarke Associates in Rye, will return to the neighborhood to see if the changes he originally suggested can be implemented quickly.  “We have the phone number of one of the residents who will notify all concerned when he arrives so they can meet with him,” said Ullman after the meeting.

Others whose homes front Monsey’s  Suzanne Lake also spoke out about the lake’s polluted condition, its stagnant, shallow water, as well as the debris and algae buildup, have made it an unhealthy eyesore.

Homeowner Evelyn Leir’s home faces the lake. “When I look through our window, it’s just terrible. We are taxpayers and spent a great deal of money on our home. When I moved here 35 years ago, it was a beautiful lake. Today, it’s full of algae and garbage, too shallow for water to flow and the stench is unbearable in the summer.”

One of the many mothers asking board to make two streets in Monsey one way for safety reasons

Tony Sharan, retiring Highway Department Supervisor, said homeowners  bordering Suzanne Lake have legitimate concerns. “I swam in that lake as a child,” said Sharan. “The dam is too high and prevents water from flowing. It  definitely needs remediation. It’s disgusting.”

Attorney Michael Klein said the town has discussed options with the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, “but nothing is going to happen tomorrow. NY wants to dredge the lake and make it deeper, and the DEC wants the town of  Ramapo to remove and rebuild the dam to lower its height so that water can run freely, keep the lake flowing  and fill it to its  former capacity.”

Robert Romanowski asked if the town still had litter control in Monsey—“they used to come around once or twice a year, but I haven’t seen them for in a very long time.” He also asked why the new Ramapo Local Development Corp., now controlled by the town board, sold property in town for $5.5 million. “Why was it sold and where’s the money going?” His question—and others from members of the audience– remained unanswered even after the meeting had officially ended.

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