In terms of projects, the Village of Brightwaters has set its primary focus on addressing the invasive plant species in Upper Cascade Lake, as well as the two bridges over the various lakes, which are in need of repair. Village mayor John Valdini spoke with the Islip Bulletin to discuss these priorities for 2020.
Beginning with the invasives, Valdini noted that lily pads cover a significant portion of the lake during the spring and summer months. Additionally, other plant species are posing issues for the water body.
“One of our biggest learning curves is dealing with the [Department of Environmental Conservation] with our lakes,” Valdini said. “That is our biggest issue we have to focus on this year because our lily pads have exploded. The weeds have exploded. Everything has gone haywire.”
Valdini said DEC workers have been at the site several times.
“The first phase is to try to do it manually and naturally. That has not worked—we did that [in 2019]. This year, we will be bringing in some professionals to deal with the lily pads. I don’t know exactly what they are going to do yet, but they do use some chemicals. As it gets closer, we will let people know what they are doing,” he assured.
Valdini promised action will be taken around May or June, adding that evaluations with an overhead drone have been conducted the last two years to document the growth of the lily pads.
“Two years ago, you could see it, and then this year, I had residents saying, ‘It looks the same. Don’t waste any money.’ But they were definitely thicker and denser,” Valdini explained. “By the end of the summer, the upper cascade exploded. It was like a science project between the weeds and the muck and grasses growing in it.”
As for the bridges, Valdini explained that parts of the bridge are in disrepair and falling into the water. Although the bridges are structurally sound, they were built roughly 100 years ago. The concrete and the finish need to be redone, as well as the railings.
“There are DEC permits involved. We anticipate looking for bids at the end of this month on that,” he said, adding that DEC officials have expressed that working on the bridges over the water will not serve as an issue, unlike extensive projects in the neighboring Babylon community that involve waterfalls and require a water diversion to work on.
“Right now, our engineer is finishing the bid packet, and we will put it out for bid and see what we can get,” Valdini said, adding that he thinks the village can get a decent contracting price.
Although there is no room in the budget for the estimated $35,000-40,000 jobs on each bridge, Valdini said that it is necessary to dip into reserve funds.
“I think that is what we have to do,” he said. “They have to be done again.”
Valdini also expressed that the building inspector recommends raising the railings, which would call for the raising of columns as well. However, such remediation would call for an overhaul of both bridges, which is beyond the finances of the village, currently. Valdini pointed out that these bridges are historical, and compromising the existing structure would create a historic preservation concern.
“Our thing is just trying to bring them back to life,” he said. “There was a thought of also making the bridges pedestrian-only. But that is something we will discuss with the residents as it gets closer. We are thinking about making a whole residential walkway down there — a meeting place where you don’t have to worry about getting run over by cars. We want to get the residents’ input on that.”
Valdini added that an infrastructure report was completed this winter and is available on the village’s website under “Projects.” Listed here are comparatively minor projects that the village is working on.
Also, the revitalization of Orinoco Drive
involving a district zone change was discussed. However, the infancy of that project remains in the hands of the planning board and would be presented to the public when appropriate. n