Celoron Homeowners Speak Out On Lack Of Town Maintenance

Pictured is an example of the erosion and sediment build-up caused by a lack of drainage along Gifford Avenue in Celoron. Submitted photo

Unresolved drainage and road repair issues in Celoron’s southernmost cul-de-sacs have left some homeowners wondering if the village is neglecting them.

John Finley, a resident of Gifford Avenue, said the amount of water that runs across his driveway during heavy rainfall, along with the deterioration of his street, have become as much a hazard as a nuisance.

“Whenever it rains, the water comes pouring down the street, straight into my driveway … and I have to come out with a broom and a wheelbarrow to shovel off all the rocks and pebbles,” Finley said. “I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son and we can’t play basketball on our driveway because there are constantly pebbles there. They can’t ride their bikes on it either … because if they fall, they’re going to get rocks in their hands and knees.”

Jon Nelson, a Merlin Avenue resident, said he’s facing similar issues.

“Whenever it rains real hard, I have to get my wheelbarrow, my shovel, my broom and rake and spend about an hour cleaning up all the gravel at the end of my driveway,” Nelson said. “The rain goes downhill from Hillcrest (Avenue) and ends up filling up my driveway with rocks and stones and sand. This has been an ongoing thing … and it doesn’t appear it’s going to get any better.”

Both Finley and Nelson pointed out how Gifford and Merlin avenues are among a handful of roads in Celoron that are somewhat “separated” from the rest of the village, mostly because they’re dead-ends that require homeowners to enter the town of Ellicott to access the village center.

For Finley, this “separation” only feeds into the perception that these roads are being overlooked by village officials.

“It’s like we’re on an island … and it just seems (the village) is taking care of everywhere else, but here,” he said. “If I was the mayor of a small village, I think I would check out the streets myself and check what state they’re in … be proactive rather than reactive.”

Homeowners have debated whether the town of Ellicott could step in and provide road maintenance since they plow the roads during the winter.

Patrick McLaughlin, Ellicott town supervisor, said fixing a drainage problem is strictly a village issue.

“I’m not going to step on any toes,” McLaughlin said. “I have no doubt (Celoron) has drainage issues, but that is strictly a village issue … and we’re not going to get involved in that.”

Despite their concerns, neither Finley nor Nelson have voiced them at a village board meeting, a point emphasized by Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost.

“I know nothing about any drainage problems up there … and no one has ever come forward and told me there’s a drainage problem,” Schrecengost said. “Residents need to start coming to the right board or contact the right people … instead they go to the town of Ellicott to complain and that’s not going to get anything done for them.”

Schrecengost said the village will blacktop its roads with the county when the county is ready to blacktop in late summer. As far as drainage issues, he said, the village is looking into it.

“Everybody this year is having drainage problems because of the amount of rain we’re getting,” he said. “We’re getting an inch to two inches of rain every time it falls … and since we’re the lowest point below Fairmount Avenue, it’s pretty tough.”