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November 1, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

DEP and Margaretville Central School District Sign Agreement For Use of Flood Lands

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., and Gary Wank, Interim Superintendent of the Margaretville Central School District (MCS), announced today that they have signed an agreement that will enable MCS to use and care for 10 parcels of land owned by the City in the vicinity of the school. These parcels were purchased by DEP after the flood of January 1996, which caused severe damage to many homes and buildings in the Margaretville area. Under the federal Flood Buyout Hazard Mitigation program, local governments may apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for grants so that they can buy properties prone to such flooding. At the request of Delaware County, DEP provided the 25% local matching funds required by the program and FEMA provided a grant for approximately 75% of the value of affected properties in the County.

DEP has issued MCS a permit for the use of the land located on both sides of Main Street near the school. MCS will be able to incorporate the use of one particular parcel adjacent to the school into its renovation and expansion plans by building a new playground adjacent to the existing one. This will enable the school to utilize the existing playground site in the building renovation. MCS will also maintain and care for 9 other parcels, while using them for educational purposes in conjunction with DEP.

"We are pleased to help MCS realize this school project," said Commissioner Miele. "And we are doubly pleased that MCS has the interest and willingness to establish a partnership to share responsibility for the use and care of this land, which is right on the school's doorstep."

"Rebuilding the playground on this site was critical to our school building project and will enable us to stay within our project budget," said Superintendent Wank. "We appreciate DEP's cooperation, which was essential, and we look forward to using the lands to enhance the appearance of this area of the Village and to offer some new educational opportunities for our students."

The arrangement partly results from the efforts of students and teachers at MCS who have used the City-owned parcels as an outdoor classroom for land use planning and municipal problem solving over the last two years. The new playground, designed by three upperclassmen at the school -- Nate Hendricks, Sarah Hubbell and Katie Spidle -- will be open to the public under the supervision of MCS. This arrangement is one example of the City's efforts to establish land management partnerships in the watershed with conservation-oriented groups and municipalities.

Under the provisions of the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, DEP's Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program has acquired over 17,000 acres and holds purchase contracts on more than 16,000 acres in the Catskill and Delaware watersheds on both sides of the Hudson River. DEP buys properties and conservation easements at fair market value only from willing sellers throughout the watershed. A number of management partnerships, similar to this one, have been established on some of these properties as a way to accommodate a community need where there is also a joint interest in protecting water quality.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600