[Last update: 7/22/2024 10:30am] Replacement of the gas main on Pleasant Grove Rd in Cayuga Heights continues with completion expected in mid-August. Town of Ithaca work on the sewer main pump station upgrade continues this week in the triangle by the Forest Home Park. When needed, flaggers will be operating.
Of the Town of Ithaca planned repairs for sections of road in Forest Home, the 1xx block of Forest Home Dr is still due for crack-filling. The City of Ithaca has finished reconstruction the asphalt surface of a section of Route 366 near Belle Sherman, but may not yet have restriped the road. Check the Emergencies and Alerts page under the Forest Home tab on this website for information about signing up for SIREN to get alerts for construction projects and emergencies. See https://www.fhia.org/emergencies-and-alerts/
For details and updates on road work on the Cornell campus, check https://cuinfo.cornell.edu/alerts/


Tompkins County milled the surface of the section of Pleasant Grove Road in Forest Home on Monday June 17. They resurfaced the road on June 26 and added center line and shoulder markings on July 3. Milling took most of a day after rush hour, closing sections of one lane at a time, with flaggers. For some pictures of the work at the bottom of Pleasant Grove Road, see https://photos.app.goo.gl/SyXMzBFUN4WXARNYA. Re-paving started early on June 26 and asphalt spreading was completed by 4pm the same day. For pictures, see https://photos.app.goo.gl/RuBJu6G8HnhVxawU8. Repair to a culvert under Pleasant Grove Road part way up the steep section will happen in July; this will involve lining the existing culvert, which can be done without digging up the road.

Also on Pleasant Grove Road, but only within Cayuga Heights, NYSEG is replacing a gas main. The work started on June 24 at the line between the Town of Ithaca and Cayuga Heights (in the northbound lane towards Community Corners). Expect single-lane closure with flaggers. The project may run until August 15.

The Town of Ithaca planned the following work this summer:
* Crack Sealing (June) 1xx section of Forest Home Drive, from City of Ithaca line to intersection with Pleasant Grove Road (including over Downstream Bridge).
* Crack Sealing (June) 3xx section of Forest Home Drive, and on to Dryden line. This work was done during the week ending June 14.
* Micro Sealing (June) Caldwell Road from 366 to the intersection with Forest Home Drive. This was completed except for new lane markings on June 27.

Additional Town of Ithaca work has been obvious in the triangle by the Forest Home Park. This is the continuation of the sewer main pump station replacement. See pictures with narrative from last Fall at https://photos.app.goo.gl/mE58KXXVX6m6JEEa6. Pictures (without narrative) for July 9 are at https://photos.app.goo.gl/LhVABJAqpZM2XpaV9 and for July 10 are at https://photos.app.goo.gl/1ecmVECumKermA2i9.

Two substantial tasks remain for the sewer pump station replacement:
1. Installation of the actual pump, which has been delayed by supply chain issues. Then the new system has to be tested before the old pump is taken out of service. That will need work at the top of the PGR hill as well as at the intersection by the park.
2. Connection to the gas main for backup generation — across FHD outside 206 FHD. That will be done by NYSEG, which does not commit to firm dates for non-emergency work.

Since June 17 and continuing for about 5 weeks, the City of Ithaca has been performing asphalt pavement reconstruction on sections of Route 366 between the “Five Corners” intersection involving Dryden Rd, Maple Ave, and Oak Ave and route 79. On July 17, the repaving appeared complete, but there were no lane markings.

The Town of Ithaca has announced the date for Brush Pickup — April 15-19. Although the procedure for preparing brush is the same in the Spring as in the Fall, don’t expect leaves to be vacuumed up in the Spring. However, bagged leaves will be picked up.

Be sure to follow the instructions for preparing brush for collection.

Remember that you can also take yard waste (brush, leaves, garden/yard debris) to the Public Works facility at 114 Seven Mile Dr., Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. year-round.

Thanks to all the folks who volunteered for the new Adopt-A-Street approach to Spring roadside cleanup. All the road segments have been signed up for. Send questions to Herb Engman or foresthomenews@gmail.com.

This is also the time to keep an eye out for invasive plants in your yard and to enjoy the flowers that are protected from the deer in the Mundy Wildflower Garden. See the post from this time last year for links to resources to help you identify and control Hairy Bittercress and Garlic Mustard. The same post has beautiful photos by Connie Stirling-Engman of Spring Ephemerals that you will soon find in the Mundy Wildflower Garden.

Instead of a roadside cleanup on a particular date in April as in the past, we are proposing an Adopt-A-Street program. The idea is for individuals or families to clean up a section of the neighborhood sometime in April and then keep it clean for the rest of the year. At the bottom of the list of streets are some tasks that do not require physical cleanup. Please volunteer for one of the following tasks by contacting Herb Engman or sending email with the subject line Cleanup Volunteer to foresthomenews@gmail.com. Here’s looking forward to an even cleaner neighborhood!

  1. Warren Road from the entrance feature to Forest Home Drive
  2. Fairway Drive, Crest Lane, and Halcyon Hill
  3. Forest Home Drive between the bridges (FHD 2xx block)
  4. Forest Home Drive from the pedestrian bridge at Flat Rock to Caldwell (FHD 3xx block)
  5. Forest Home Drive from the downstream bridge to the entrance feature near McIntyre Place
  6. Caldwell Road from the upstream bridge up to the first stop sign
  7. Pleasant Grove Road from Forest Home Drive to the entrance feature
  8. Judd Falls Road from Forest Home Drive to the Botanic Gardens headquarters, plus The Byway
  9. McIntyre Place
  10. Holder of the equipment (picker-uppers, bags, gloves – provided by FHIA) where others can pick what they need up and return them later
  11. Keeper of the list – making changes when new adopters come on board
  12. Disposal of bags (Herb Engman has already agreed to pick up and dispose of bags)

If you have questions or suggestions, contact Herb Engman or send email to foresthomenews@gmail.com with the subject line Cleanup Question or Cleanup Suggestion.

The Annual Meeting of FHIA was well-attended, both in person and via Zoom. Thanks to all who participated. The new President is Charlie Trautmann (currently Vice President). Valerie Hans and Connie Stirling Engman were re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. The new Vice President is Valerie McAllister, who moved into the neighborhood with her three children in August. She is serving as bookkeeper for the Forest Home Chapel and as administrative assistant to the Protestant Cooperative Ministry at Cornell.

See https://www.fhia.org/minutes/ for the Agenda, President’s Report, and Treasurer’s Report. Minutes will be online once they are ready.

All Forest Home residents are encouraged to attend, either in person at the Forest Home Chapel or via ZOOM. As old-timers know, the annual meeting includes reports from current officers, election of officers for the coming year, and, sometimes, decisions on important issues facing the neighborhood. Rod Howe, Town of Ithaca Supervisor, will provide an update on various issues affecting Forest Home:

  1. Cradit Lane/Pleasant Grove Intersection
  2. RaNic Golf Course
  3. Forest Home Pump Station Upgrade
  4. Vehicle Length
  5. Pedestrian Count on Walkway
  6. Lighting
  7. Joint application through ITCTC for walkway/bike path improvements

The ZOOM link has been distributed to residents by foresthomenews@gmail.com.

See https://www.fhia.org/minutes/ for the Agenda and President’s Report.

The FHIA board is planning for our usual potluck event in the Forest Home Park. We hope that residents will hold the date of Saturday Sept. 9 (with Sunday Sept. 10 as a rain date) for a dish-to-pass gathering in the Forest Home Park. Usually, we meet around 3:00 PM.

Look for a more detailed announcement later. If you can lend a grill, will help set up or clean up, are prepared to take a shift grilling, or can help with garbage or recycling, please let us know by emailing foresthomenews@gmail.com.

Our proposed date for the FHIA Annual Meeting, when officers for the next year are elected, is the evening of Tuesday October 24. Please consider volunteering to be an officer.

Forest Home relies on Tompkins County for a number of services, including maintenance of Warren Road and Pleasant Grove; recycling; property maps; managing elections; public safety through the Sheriff’s Office; and the SIREN system for distributing alerts about emergencies and service interruptions.

The county also provides a variety of services associated with health. A few months ago, the Tompkins County Health Department and Mental Health Department were integrated under the name Tompkins County Whole Health. See https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health/. The integration had been planned for some years as described in https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health/about

Updates have been made recently to several of the web pages related to health:

Some other useful pages on the Tompkins County website that have been updated recently include:

The Town of Ithaca April newsletter provides a link to material from a March 8 FEMA Consultation Coordination Officer Meeting for Tompkins County municipalities. As stated in the newsletter, the changes in the Flood Insurance Risk Maps (FIRMs) do not greatly impact Town of Ithaca properties. However, there are changes that may affect properties alongside Fall Creek in Forest Home. If you see from the maps below that your property may be affected, you may want to consider attending one of the public information sessions.

Wednesday April 26, 2023 — Ithaca High School Cafeteria (1401 N Cayuga St)
Thursday April 27, 2023 — Tompkins County Whole Health Building (55 Brown Rd, near airport)

Both sessions are open houses, running from 4:30pm to 8:30pm, where you can address your questions individually to FEMA representatives. More information is available from the Town of Ithaca at Flood Risk Open House Meetings.

The FIRM maps consist of rectangular panels. The section of Fall Creek in Forest Home is divided between two panels. The western section, closer to Beebe Lake is in panel 36109C0203D and the eastern section, including the 3xx block of Forest Home Drive is in panel 36109C0204D. For your convenience, we have extracted the relevant sections from the two high-resolution images and show them below. The top three color blocks in the legend for the full panels indicate the areas of concern. The area with red striping is the normal path of Fall Creek. The blue areas indicate a higher chance of flooding than the brown areas; the blue areas have a 1% annual chance of flooding. Consult the FEMA Glossary for full definitions of terms.

The western part of Fall Creek in Forest Home is shown first [full resolution]

Extract from FIRM panel 36109C0203D
Extract of Flood Insurance Risk Map for western part of Forest Home. From panel 36109C0203D (Preliminary 1/18/2023)

The eastern section of Fall Creek in Forest Home is shown below [full resolution]

Extract from FIRM panel 36109C0204D (2023-01-08)
Extract of Flood Insurance Risk Map for eastern part of Forest Home. From panel 36109C0204D (Preliminary 1/18/2023)

FEMA has not provided direct visual comparisons with the current Flood Insurance Risk Maps, which date from 1985. An extract from the 1985 map is below, shown in the window of FEMA’s FIRMette viewer [Full resolution].

Extract of 1985 Flood Insurance Risk Map for Forest Home. From panel 3608510022C. Valid through 2023. From FIRMette viewer [https://map1.msc.fema.gov/firm?id=3608510022C].

The Town’s April newsletter provides contact information for questions, comments, and/or concerns: Thomas Song, Acting Regional Flood Insurance Liaison [Thomas.song@fema.dhs.gov] or Laura Shepherd, ARC Project Manager [lshepherd@moffattnichol.com].

FHIA’s Spring Roadside Cleanup will be on Saturday, April 15 at 10:00 a.m. Sunday, April 16 will be the backup rain date. Volunteers should meet in the park to choose which road they will work on. As usual, the FHIA will provide and collect garbage bags and dispose of them. We also have three “picker-uppers” for loan. These handy gadgets make the task much easier. Bring your own gloves and consider dressing to avoid getting bitten by a tick. Ticks often emerge in the second half of March. See https://tompkinscountyny.gov/health/vector/ticks#prevent for advice.

If you would like to help with cleanup but the date or time is not convenient, pick a stretch of road and send a message to foresthomenews@gmail.com to let the organizers know.

The following week, beginning April 17, the Town of Ithaca will be holding its brush collection from residents. To read more about the brush pickup, go to the Town of Ithaca website at https://www.town.ithaca.ny.us/ and click on “Services”. Or go directly to https://www.town.ithaca.ny.us/brush-collection-drop-off/.

Getting an early start is recommended to control two of our most invasive plants, Garlic Mustard and Hairy Bittercress.

The following resources have more pictures to help identify the plants and recommendations for effective removal.

Thanks go to the Town of Ithaca Public Works Department for several new enhancements to the Forest Home Walkway following the major project managed by the Engineering Department over the Summer. Last week, twenty-five new deciduous trees, including sugar maples and tulip trees, were planted alongside the walkway. The saplings are protected from deer by metal fencing and are poking through cardboard. FHIA will be hoping that community members will make sure that they are watered adequately; if you are prepared to help, send email to foresthomenews@gmail.com.

There are more trees further down, near the flat section. At the base of the Walkway, the crosswalk has been re-painted and the Stop sign has been moved to improve the sightline for vehicles wanting to turn left across the bridge. Last week, the Town brought some topsoil to put on the slope between the Stop sign and the path. Some of the day-lilies that have been near this intersection for decades have been rescued and planted in this triangular patch. Let’s hope for some rain to help them get re-established.

If you see any of the Town of Ithaca staff working in the area, please let them know how much the community appreciates their efforts to keep the Walkway safe and attractive. It has been in use for over a hundred years [see The Path] and we hope it will serve generations to come.