Orleans Residents Dealing With Salt Water Question Welcome Cente

Orleans Residents Dealing With Salt Water Question Welcome Center Spending

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Town of Orleans residents are left scratching their heads after the governor announced the state is spending millions of dollars on a new welcome center while they are are still dealing with salt in their water supply.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that a new state-funded welcome center will be built in Alexandria Bay by the Thousand Islands Bridge.

It was news that left nearby town of Orleans residents and officials with sour feelings.

"It was like a torn reaction," Orleans Town Supervisor Kevin Rarick said. "Like, it was a good thing, but it almost felt like a kick in the mid-section. We've been fighting since 2012 to get decent water to our residents."

Rarick says he feels like this new project takes attention away from the contaminated water issues, which many blame on the state DOT salt barn on State Route 12.

The town plans to solve the issues by building a $13 million dollar water line, which is funded by state grants and about an $8 million loan from the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC).

Instead of making the residents pay back a loan, Rarick says the state should do more.

"I'd like to see the DOT take accountability," he said. "I'd like to see the state take accountability."

EFC communications director John Chirlin said in a statement, "The state has and will continue to stand with the town. We encourage town officials to contact the state to help navigate and locate additional funding if needed, that may be available from various state sources."

"We've applied for funding and been denied," Rarick said. "Why is it the other way around that we have to fight tooth and nail to try to get anything when the state knows we have a problem?"

Rarick is also concerned that because of the new welcome center's location, it could be connected to the water line before affected residents that live in the district.

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