Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state is providing $43 million to advance 31 projects in Oswego and Cayuga counties as part of the first round of funding under the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative.
Governor Cuomo launched REDI in May to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region.
The announcement marks a major milestone in the REDI effort. Identified by the communities and evaluated by state agency experts, the projects address both immediate and long-term resiliency needs, enhance economic development, protect critical infrastructure, incorporate green, natural, or nature-based features, and will help sustainably rebuild and enhance communities along the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shorelines.
In addition, the Governor announced that the REDI Commission will hold an implementation conference in Albany on November 20. The conference will provide REDI funding recipients with information about project implementation, including permitting and environmental reviews, as well as an opportunity to meet with relevant state agencies to ensure REDI projects are implemented as soon as possible. The Governor also announced that up to $8 million will be available to qualifying secondary homeowners as part of the overall $20 million homeowner assistance package to help all members of the lakefront communities recover from flood-related damages.
“Today, I am announcing 31 REDI projects that will enhance and sustainably protect infrastructure, habitats, and local economies in Oswego and Cayuga counties,” Governor Cuomo said. “Two of the last three years have brought record-setting high water levels along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, damaging homes and infrastructure and dealing an economic blow to communities in these areas. Trying times call for innovative solutions, and that’s why I directed 11 New York State agencies to mobilize their expertise and develop a suite of actions, with community input, that will create long-term sustainability. These critical projects will serve as the crucial next step in helping these shoreline communities achieve sustainability, resiliency, and economic vibrancy.”
“Shoreline communities have faced tremendous challenges in recent years. That’s why we have taken aggressive action to help local governments, businesses, and homeowners with state support to improve resiliency and address the impact of flooding,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This targeted funding for projects in Cayuga and Oswego counties will address infrastructure needs to ensure sustainability long-term. These critical efforts will help to combat devastation from extreme weather events, strengthen our economy, and enhance quality of life for residents.”
Since record high water levels in 2017, New York State has committed more than $100 million to rebuild communities along the Lake Ontario shoreline that were devastated by flooding, only to again experience record high water levels and flooding in these same communities this year.
Five REDI regions, comprised of eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns. The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties. The remaining balance, $235 million, has been allocated toward local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.
To identify projects, over the course of three months, REDI organized 25 stakeholder and community meetings and workshops with hundreds of local residents, convened more than 15 planning committee meetings, and directed New York State agency and engineering experts to expend thousands of hours to evaluate more than 500 projects proposed by communities. The projects comprise a range of at-risk assets, including shoreline stabilization, public health and safety, critical water and wastewater infrastructure, marinas and harbors, and land loss/value, among other priorities, with an emphasis on natural or nature-based features and green infrastructure.
For each project, multi-jurisdictional permit reviews, and any associated environmental reviews, will be needed prior to any final determination to proceed. To build resilience, reduce the risk of future property damage, and minimize habitat impacts, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has compiled general guidelines for coastal design and development projects. These guidelines include technical data, regulatory guidance, best practices, and available resources for development along the dynamic shorelines of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. This comprehensive technical and permitting information to help expedite the permitting process is available on the REDI guidance webpage.
To further address the challenges posed by high water levels, in addition to the county-specific projects announced today, Governor Cuomo announced an eight-county $15 million Regional Dredging effort to sustainably maintain safe navigation channels to harbors and bays along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. These channels are critical to the vitality of recreational and commercial boating, which generate millions of dollars annually in economic activity and support more than 1,000 jobs across the region.
The effort will address the required maintenance dredging of at least 17 harbor channels used primarily for recreational boating. Dredging sediments appropriate for beneficial re-use may be employed in ecosystem restoration or erosion management projects, with likely benefits to habitat, water quality, and beach nourishment.
Each of the REDI counties is receiving at least $15 million for public infrastructure projects. Cayuga County’s $12 million of recommended projects is being supplemented with an additional $3 million for public projects to be identified by the local planning committee and following the REDI process within the next three months.
The complete list of the 31 projects in Cayuga and Oswego counties is available here. Highlighted REDI projects and estimated costs include:
- $6,500,000 for the International Pier Project in the City of Oswego to develop a waterfront pedestrian-friendly space with linkage to a city walking trail. The project includes installation of water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and electrical services, a gateway arch, vehicle parking and controls, relocation and replacement of boat slips, and protection of pier bulkhead and sidewalls for resilience.
- $6,100,000 for the Wright’s Landing Marina Project in the City of Oswego to elevate the marina and improve the resilience of the boardwalk, landscaping, “The Boathouse” restaurant, fire pit, and more.
- The $4,800,000 County Route 89 Project in the Town of Oswego, will extend the existing sanitary sewer network to new housing for SUNY Oswego, as well as to the Lake Shore commercial district, collecting wastewater from 78 properties. This project will provide a durable stormwater collection system for this community, improving the resiliency of adjacent properties and assets.
- $2,700,000 for the West Bay Road Storm Sewers Project in the Town of Sterling will install 1.8 miles of storm sewer to collect and manage stormwater along West Bay Road, addressing significant erosion and sediment carried into the bay.
- $1,600,000 for the Sterling Nature Center Trail and Parking Area Project in the Town of Sterling to upgrade the Sterling Nature Center. The project will minimize impacts from Lake Ontario by using porous pavement, sidewalks, rain gardens, wetlands, and more, and will restore McIntyre Road, the only access point for emergency responders to this section of lakeshore.
- $1,500,000 for the Phillips Park Walkway Project in the Village of Fair Haven to remove an existing boardwalk, repair and replace a retaining wall, install appropriate anchors, and construct a new boardwalk in compliance with ADA standards. The boardwalk will be used for fishing and other recreational uses.
- The $1,500,000 Ontario Shores Drive Project in the Town of Sterling will move, raise, and repave .6 miles of dirt road, ensuring residents and emergency responders have access to homes along the beach.
- The $600,000 West Barrier Bar Park Project in the Village of Fair Haven will protect the park and ensure public access by repaving the asphalt roadway and the parking lot. Increasing the resiliency of this roadway and the park are critical to protecting a nearby marina on the barrier bar.
- $500,000 for the Camp Hollis Project in the Town of Oswego will address shoreline stabilization to prevent septic system overflow in order to protect public health and safety of participants in the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau summer camp program.
- The $480,000 Joe Fultz Boulevard Project in the Town of Scriba will protect the roadway and nearby homes. The project will first conduct an ecological assessment to identify proper drainage and connectivity between the lake and the nearby marsh, as well as dredging and improved road culverts.
Click here for illustrative depictions of projects.
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