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Worthwhile Things Often Take Time

When you think about it, the best memories of life are those that survive the test of time-things like anniversaries, birthdays and high school reunions. They are memorable because they have lasted.

In a way, I think the same is true in government. The things that last are also the most memorable. I have had some personal experience here primarily, I expect, in having been appointed to a federal agency which was responsible for finding a site, developing a design, raising the funds and then ultimately building the National World War II Memorial. From legislation being passed to dedication of the Memorial took 10 years…but it was worth the wait. Lasting things take time to build.

So it is with most public infrastructure… especially that which is unseen, built beneath the surface like sewer and water systems. We take such public works for granted but they only come about through months and years of hard work, planning, engineering and, finally, financing. Thus, it was not a surprise to see the smiles on the faces of many when ground was broken recently for the West Side Sewer Extension Project for Chautauqua Lake.

The long-term commitment of those present was evident all around. Two members of Sewer Board had been members 40 years ago when the first sewers were laid for the South/Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District.

The present County Executive was there along with his predecessor and now State Senator. That, in itself, speaks of long-term commitment. You don’t get something like sewers built in a two or even four-year election cycle-think 8 or 10 years. You have to stay with it, on-top-of-it, “bird-dogging” it, pursuing it from every angle before it will ever be built.

The Chairman of the County Legislature, recruited 8 years ago by a prior County Executive to run for office in order to advance the construction of sewers around the lake, should undoubtedly get a “perseverance award” for his continual championing of this project.

The Chair of the event and of the Sewer Board announced with a big smile on her face: “Now, those people in Hadley Bay won’t think we are thinking about sewers. They will be seeing pipe laid in the ground.” To which everyone around nodded their heads in approval as if to say: “Amen!”

The Executive in charge of the project (as executives do) cautioned everyone that this was just a “start” and that it would be sometime before the job was completed and homes actually hooked up to the new sewer-probably sometime in 2023. But, he too was enthusiastic that the beginning had now begun.

So, if you are one of the landowners on a 50-100 ft. lot along the lake between the BOCES School and Stow trying to operate a septic system and water well on the same property-help is on the way. And, if you live past Stow on the way to Prendergast Point-you too, may have something to celebrate. An application is being made for state funding in what is called Phase II of the West Side Extension.

Who knows? Maybe I will still be alive when a sewer system is built that gets to my house. Building public infrastructure takes time. Maybe that is what makes it feel so good when it finally gets started!

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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