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Keene brook wall rebuilt, more to be added

The Gulf Brook rock wall in Keene has been restored after the 2011 floods, and additional work will be done on the west bank to protect local residents.

The Gulf Brook rock wall in Keene has been restored after the 2011 floods, and additional work will be done on the west bank to protect local residents. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Two years ago, the waters from the Gulf Brook spilled over its banks and caused havoc to the hamlet of Keene as part of the mark Tropical Storm Irene left on the North Country.

Now, town officials are working to shore up both sides of the brook, repairing the rock wall on the east side of the brook while creating a new wall on the west side.

“Initially, we were just going to replace the wall as it initially stood on the easterly side of the brook,” Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee said. “However, after the engineer came in and took a look at it, he recommended that we extend the wall 200 feet longer to protect the wall and shore up the bank.”

While Ferebee said the work to the east side was covered through FEMA funding, the town also wanted to improve on their brook defenses.

“We applied for a grant two years ago through National Resource Conservation Services to do some brook restoration and stabilization to protect the properties on the westerly side,” Ferebee said. “We got a grant for $800,000 to do the work and $60,000 for engineering. We also got a DEC Flood Mitigation Grant for $151,500, which will cover the 25 percent match that is required.”

Ferebee said he is anxious for the project to get started.

“We are hoping to get all of the engineering, design and permitting done over the winter and start construction in the spring when the water recedes,” Ferebee said. “The east side had a wall of 137 feet which was destroyed, but the west side really was the problem side when it came to the damage that was done to the houses and road.”

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