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Recovery in Sodus Point could become a model for other shoreline communities

The Post-Flood Recovery Building Workshop for the Village of Sodus Point, a project organized by the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and New York Sea Grant, has received a 2019 Public Outreach Award from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The resiliency building effort is ongoing in Sodus Point and has contributed to a community-level visioning model that New York Sea Grant and the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council would like to use to assist other coastal areas impacted by the Lake Ontario high water event, or weather disasters.

The Post-Flooding project in the Village of Sodus Point highlighted a visioning process for the community and included a public engagement workshop. As part of the project, Mary Austerman, New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Specialist piloted a newly-developed self-assessment checklist to help identify village-specific vulnerabilities to high water levels.

“Key strategies were identified at the workshop to enhance the village response to high water events. The strategies were implemented, in part, for the 2019 event and proved helpful. Communications both inside and outside of the village were structured to be more comprehensive and direct and, as a result, we experienced a calmer resident response and have seen an improved business climate since 2017,” said Sodus Point Mayor David McDowell.

The award was one of 16 presented at the Chapter’s annual conference in Rochester, N.Y., recognizing outstanding contributions to the field of city, town, and regional planning in the areas of comprehensive planning, implementation, public outreach, best practice, and distinguished leadership.

“The Upstate Chapter Awards Program has been a centerpiece of our Annual Conferences for years and once again we were thrilled to present our membership with 16 exemplary examples of recent projects completed by Chapter members that are bringing about positive change and benefits for residents of Upstate New York,” said Mark Castiglione, AICP, president of the New York Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The American Planning Association (APA) provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment, and providing our members with the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change. The New York Chapter of the APA advances the work of the national organization in 48 counties north of the New York City metropolitan region.

In September, Austerman received a 2019 Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Outstanding Outreach Programming Award for excellence in assisting Lake Ontario coastal communities to address record high water and flooding since the 2017 event.

New York Sea Grant is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York. To learn more, visit

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