By Rob Potter
PARKSVILLE May 29, 2001 Sol Kleinberger has to worry a bit more than the average parent when his children go out into the backyard to play.
Thats because the yard that Kleinbergers two sons and daughter use for recreation keeps getting smaller and smaller.
The Kleinberger residence borders the Little Beaverkill in Parksville, and since December, the water has been gradually eating away the bank under the familys backyard. The flooding of December 17 exascerbated the waters movement within its bed.
Kleinberger said that, when he purchased his home in 1978, the Little Beaverkills path was about 30 feet farther from his house than it is now. Because of repairs made on the opposite side of Route 17 that changed how the water flowed and the December flooding, the Kleinberger backyard is shrinking at a quick pace.
My brother got fed up and moved out with his two children, Kleinberger said.
Kleinberger added he has contacted officials about the problem.
The DEC gave me permission to do temporary repairs, he said. I could put in rocks, but at my own expense.
While dumping rocks and/or other materials into the stream bed to preserve his property is an option, Kleinberger is hesitant to do so. He explained that, if he does spend a sizable amount of money to make some kind of temporary repairs, all of that time and effort might be for nothing.
Thats because of the small bridge in front of his house which the Little Beaverkill flows under. Kleinberger wonders if heavy rain could damage the structure and cause resulting damage to his property. Theres also the question of future DOT work on the bridge.
He said that he contacted the state DOT and was informed that every bridge in the county must be inspected every two years.
New York State DOT Region 9 Bridge Operations Engineer Tim Giblin confirmed that the bridge near the Kleinberger home was inspected in August 2000. On a scale of 1 to 7, with a 7 representing the best of bridges, the Parksville bridge in front of the Kleinberger home received an overall score of 5.
Its in pretty good shape, Giblin said.
He added, however, that the bridge received only a grade of 3 for its wearing surface in other words, the actual pavement and a grade of 4 for erosion and scour in the wing walls of the stucture.
But in terms of stream alignment and waterflow opening, the bridge was judged to be a 6 in each of those categories.
The possibility of a future high water event or even the plans to convert Route 17 into Interstate 86 could conceivably cause the DOT to make more permanent changes to the bridge and surrounding banks.
And that, Kleinberger noted, would nullify any temporary repair work he might have made.
For now he must wait, as the water keeps eating away the soil under the green grass of the shrinking backyard. He has put up a rope with yellow caution ribbons hanging from it to warn his children and others about the nearby danger.
Im concerned about my kids being near the edge, Kleinberger commented. The waters getting closer all the time.