Storm damage in Stockbridge estimated at more than $100,000


STOCKBRIDGE — After the Sunday deluge that flooded many roadways from one end of town to the other, the preliminary cleanup and repair bill is estimated at well over $100,000, according to Town Administrator Jorja-Ann Marsden.

The two-hour torrential downpour dumped more than 5 inches into rain gauges, flooding much of the downtown business center and prompting officials to declare a state of emergency, setting the stage for potential state and federal payments to cover repair expenses. Normal rainfall for the entire month of May is about 4 inches.

Voters will be summoned to a special town meeting to approve emergency spending for repairs to roads and the Town Offices at 6:30 p.m. June 27 — just before the end of fiscal 2016.

"It was definitely a tense couple of hours for emergency services and highway departments," said Select Board Chairman Ernest "Chuckie" Cardillo, who's also the fire chief. "Everybody worked together very well. It was quite an experience."

The lower parking lot and Town Offices basement, including the police station, were flooded as stormwater cascaded from the nearby post office parking area, where a drainpipe was plugged with sand.

The town is pursuing possible reimbursement from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Cardillo pointed out at Wednesday night's Select Board meeting. Town officials have been in direct contact with Kurt Schwartz, MEMA's statewide director, he noted.

MEMA Regional Director Patrick Carnevale inspected some of the damage on Sunday, said Cardillo, who commended Police Chief Darrell Fennelly and his officers, volunteer firefighters and the Highway Department "for doing a tremendous job."

He also cited Emergency Management Director Chris Marsden, who's also the town's facilities manager, for helping coordinate the response.

The stalled storm also caused less extensive damage in Lee, where 4.25 inches of rain was measured. Neighboring towns also were hit by downpours, but there was minimal impact. Pittsfield Municipal Airport recorded two inches of rain on Sunday from the early afternoon storm and an early evening thundershower.

Among the hardest-hit areas in Stockbridge were Route 183 in the Interlaken area, Glendale Road and Church Street, Cardillo said.

"We know we have a problem and we're looking at it very seriously to come up with solutions," he said. Cardillo was referring to chronic trouble spots in town that are prone to flooding from heavy rainstorms that he said now occur every two to three years, rather than every 10 or 15 years as in the past.

"We're going to have to invest some money to improve our infrastructure," Cardillo said.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.


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