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.

If anyone is interested in helping with some trail improvement work in the area across Flat Rock Bridge, Charlie Trautmann is organizing a work party on Sunday November 6 from 9am to 3pm — come any time, leave any time. [Reminder: that’s the day that clocks change at 2am.]. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Bring gloves and good shoes (plus shovel, wheelbarrow if you have them). The location is shown at https://goo.gl/maps/vmfRHDDdA8TGXreC7. And here’s a photo of the bridge that might help you find the location on Forest Home Drive between Caldwell Road and Varna.

Suspension bridge across Fall Creek by Flat Rock. [photo by Connie Stirling Engman]

Another date to remember is that the Town of Ithaca will be vacuuming leaves starting on November 7. For details, see https://www.town.ithaca.ny.us/leaf-collection/

The FHIA board is suggesting that we hold our usual potluck event in the Forest Home Park, as long as people are ready for it and public health guidelines indicate that it is safe. This longstanding community tradition has been on hold because of COVID.

The last full picnic was in 2019, when Forest Home celebrated its 225th birthday. See https://photos.app.goo.gl/v93TrT5HfkYBfSpq8. In 2020, we had a socially distanced scavenger hunt. See https://fhia.org/pictures-of-forest-home/scavenger-hunt-september-12-2020/. In 2021, we had hoped to have the usual barbecue and potluck, but, because of a surge in the Delta virus, simplified it to an ice cream social.

We hope that residents will hold the date of Sat. Sept. 17 (with Sat. Sept. 24 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.

As you have probably noticed, the Forest Home Walkway Improvement Project finally got started in the first week of May. This path was established in 1911 by George Warren, who lived in the house that is now 127 Warren Road, to ease his commute between his farm and Cornell where he was on the faculty of the new agricultural college. The early history was described in 1976 by Martha Hertel, daughter of George Warren, in The Path. In the early 1980s, the path was given to the Town of Ithaca, by Martha and her siblings.

The primary objectives of the current project are:

  • Safer and more comfortable walking, with steps on the steepest section and a more robust railing alongside the entire upper and lower sections of the trail
  • A graded compacted surface that is comfortable to walk on and more resistant to heavy rain.
  • New systems for drainage, intended both to divert water off the path surface and to avoid damage to and by adjoining properties at the lower end.

On the lower section, as well as installing pre-cast concrete steps, two important features are not visible, because they are below the ground.

  • immediately to the left (as in photo below) of the path, a drainage pipe with perforations on its top has been installed to take the water down to the existing catch basin near the bottom of the Walkway. The drainage swale behind 200 FHD, now also feeds into that pipe.
  • immediately to the right of the path concrete pillars have been embedded, ready for the new metal railing to be installed.

The engineering drawings are at https://fhia.org/wp-content/uploads/Highlights/Forest-Home-Walkway-Contract-Drawings_April-2021.pdf

The contract was awarded after approval by the Town Board on December 29, 2021. See https://fhia.org/wp-content/uploads/Highlights/WalkwayImprovementsContractApproval_Dec2021.pdf

One feature of the improved walkway will be a metal railing alongside the entire trail except the flattish central section. On June 2nd, the contractors brought all the railing sections to the site to adjust the welded joints with a blow torch so that they will fit on to the embedded concrete bases.

At the bottom of the walkway there will be a concrete pad that connects to the crosswalk at the bottom of Pleasant Grove Road. The shuttering for the pad was put in place on June 1st and filled on June 3rd.

On June 14th, Kris Merschrod took photos as he walked down from Warren Road to the central flatter section and back up. Notice the connection to a new section of pedestrian path on the west side of Warren Road. The central flat section is now protected from the erosion that happens everywhere on the hillside by precast concrete blocks.