New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the start of construction of two flood resiliency projects in the village of Fair Haven, Cayuga County. The village was awarded $3.5 million to complete the projects through New York State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI). The West Barrier Bar Park, a popular destination for residents and tourists, has shorelines that border both Lake Ontario and Little Sodus Bay. The REDI Commission awarded $2 million to the village to make the West Barrier Bar Park more resilient to future flooding and ensure the park is able to remain open to the public. In 2019, the waters of Lake Ontario rose to historic levels and flooding and intense wave action eroded the shorelines of the barrier bar, causing sections of the park to become inundated and inaccessible for public use.
“New York’s REDI program is advancing projects to protect shoreline communities historically susceptible to flooding from high water and extreme weather, in Cayuga County and all along the shores of Lake Ontario,” said DEC Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos. “Fortifying the shorelines along West Barrier Bar and Philips parks are great examples of the strategic projects identified by community leaders and these efforts will protect residents and visitors to the village of Fair Haven for years to come.”
Flood mitigation measures underway at the West Barrier Bar Park include regrading the Lake Ontario shoreline to return the beach to ideal conditions that allow the public to access the water and make an enjoyable beach and park experience. Additionally, offshore rock sill will help create a living shoreline to reduce wave energy and protect the Little Sodus Bay shoreline from erosion.
Commissioner Seggos also announced the start of a $1.5 million resiliency project in the village of Fair Haven. Phillips Park is a focal point of the village, located centrally along Main Street, which draws tourists to the downtown by offering opportunities to fish, picnic, and enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Past high-water events damaged the park’s walkway and fishing deck and eroded the shoreline leaving the park susceptible to further flood damage.
Mitigation measures at the Phillips Park Walkway resiliency project include installation of shoreline stabilization, as well as resurfacing and raising the elevation of the existing boardwalk. Improvements to landscaping and signage are also included in the project. These improvements will allow for better public access and ensure the park remains a popular destination in the village.
New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriquez said, “Governor Hochul’s transformative investments in resilient infrastructure and public spaces will enhance the quality of life and economies of Lake Ontario shoreline communities for generations to come. West Barrier Bar Park and so many other parks in the State are important components of a community’s quality of life. A resilient West Barrier Bay Park will allow residents and visitors to interact, exercise, and access the water safely and enjoyably while contributing to the environmental and economic well-being of the entire Lake Ontario Community.”
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “New York State is making smart, targeted investments like these that will help us meet the challenges of climate change and allow communities along the Lake Ontario shoreline to mitigate the dangers of rising flood waters. Having worked with the community in Cayuga County to implement the REDI program, I can affirm the determination of the community and New York State to invest and make our infrastructure more resilient. It’s a testament to what New Yorkers can achieve when we all work together.”
Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette M. Moy said, “Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to invest in REDI communities’ priority projects is resulting in increased resiliency and protection against future flooding throughout the region. The projects announced today in Fair Haven will ensure that future generations of residents and tourists will be able to enjoy all that West Barrier Bar Park and Phillips Park have to offer.”
State Senator Pamela Helming said, “Thank you to New York State, the REDI Commission, the Village of Fair Haven and Cayuga County for their collaboration on these projects to shore up critical infrastructure and protect the natural resources vital to tourism and the local economy.”
Assemblyman Brian Manktelow said, “West Barrier Park is a staple of our community, and I am happy to see the State has taken an active interest in mitigating its flooding. Not only has the shoreline been devasted by floods in recent years, the high water has wreaked havoc on the local infrastructure. The efforts made in both of these projects will secure the shoreline to mitigate future destruction from flooding, as well as allow people of all abilities to enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Ontario. I am so proud of the State’s continued commitment to our region and the helping those afflicted by the disastrous of recent years.”
Cayuga County Chairperson David Gould said, “We are pleased to see these transformative REDI projects get underway in the village of Fair Haven. The village, under the leadership of Mayor Basile, and in partnership with the State, are working to ensure that both residents and visitors will be able to enjoy all that the community has to offer, even during flooding events.”
Village of Fair Haven Mayor James Basile said, “The Village is pleased with the progress to date on all of our REDI projects. The REDI program has been an interesting and unique process. It is the first time that I am aware of, all the various State and in some cases Federal agencies worked simultaneously, with DASNY guidance and the REDI commission support, coming to the table together in an attempt to limit redundancy. I am thankful that the village of Fair Haven was able to participate and benefit from this program.”
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from 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. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million, to benefit communities and improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
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