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FASNY to Mend 'Compromised' White Plains Dam

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A compromised dam designed to hold back approximately 10 million gallons of water in the former Ridgeway Country Club ground poses no immediate flooding danger, however, the neighborhood is urging the French-American School of New York (FASNY) to move quickly to bring the 12 to 15 feet high dam into compliance with state regulations.

Gedney Association President Terence Guerriere said the dam hadn’t been maintained for years prior to the private school buying the golf course grounds with the hopes of building a $60 million campus. Still, he said he worries that by discontinuing the past practice of using the pond to water the property, FASNY may be pushing up the lake’s water level.

“The overriding concern is safety. We have several families who live along Ridgeway and Green Lawn Nursery. On the other side of the street is the Ridgeway Alliance Church, which has a nursery school,” said Guerriere. “This is not going to break tomorrow. There is no imminent danger, what it is,” he said, “is a condition that needs to be corrected and has been ignored.”

White Plain Public Works Commissioner and Watershed Officer Joseph Nicoletti did not return calls for comment. However, he recently told the Gedney Association the “compromised” dam had leaked some water into federally protected wetlands on the Ridgeway grounds, the school said. FASNY is working with the city and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ensure that a pond created by the country club in the 1960s now complies with state dam standards, according to FASNY press representative Geoff Thompson.

“There has never been any issue with it. It is not in any way posing any kind of imminent danger or is in any way liable to somehow break,” said Thompson. “There will be removal of some trees that are growing on the berm itself. That’s something the state now requires.”

FASNY is awaiting the DEC’s approval of a plan the school designed after talks with the city and state officials.

“We’re waiting right now on the sign off and then we’ll get on with the work,” said Thompson.

The Gedney neighborhood association opposes FASNY’s proposal to enroll 1,200 students in a three-school campus, saying that the school would exacerbate traffic, overburden the sewage system and ruin the character of the neighborhood.

The city is currently reviewing FASNY’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), to ensure that all the required studies and inquiries about how the school would impact the area are adequately answered. White Plains will later hold a public hearing and begin judging the validity of the school’s DEIS to determine whether FASNY should get the special permit needed to operate the school.

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