OSWEGO — Mayor Billy Barlow announced that the city of Oswego has started construction along the waterfront, including Breitbeck Park, Wright’s Landing and the International Pier.
The $16 million investment is comprised of three total projects, including $12.6 million of awarded funding from New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo’s REDI program, $1.1 million from a CFA grant in 2018 and $1.5 million from FEMA to repair damaged caused by high water levels and flooding from Lake Ontario. Since 2017, the City of Oswego sustained over $5.5 million of property damage due to high waters and flooding along the lakeshore since the IJC implemented Plan 2014, creating more fluctuation in water levels among the great lakes.
Oswego’s Breitbeck Park project will call for large rip-rap stones and additional landscaping along the bottom of Brietbeck Park and the Harbor Trail, funded by FEMA, to prevent future land erosion from high water. Oswego’s REDI projects cover significant improvements to Wright’s Landing Marina by elevating the ground surface by two feet to prevent future flooding, a new pavilion, a new welcome center, full renovations of restroom facilities, implements ADA accessible access throughout the marina, a new pavilion and more firepit and seating areas. Lastly, a significant investment will be made to the International Pier, currently an underutilized gravel pier. Mayor Barlow’s plan calls for a $6.5 million transformation of the pier into a pedestrian oriented boardwalk pier. The projects are scheduled to begin immediately, will happen simultaneously and construction is expected to last through July 2021, using a combination of Oswego Department of Public Work crews and private contractors.
“Our Breitbeck Park, Wright’s Landing Marina, and International Pier projects will surely transform Oswego’s waterfront and position our community to finally take full advantage of being a waterfront community. Our projects will both protect our waterfront property and assets, while allowing us to build and improve our waterfront to serve as an attractive economic development tool, adding to Oswego’s forward progress”, said Mayor Barlow. “Our Wright’s Landing Marina will become the premier marina on Lake Ontario and the International Pier, I believe, will serve as a unique and powerful regional attraction, showcasing our world class waterfront, for many years to come,” Barlow said.
Nathan Emmons, Director of Economic Development, said, “We continue to focus on enhancing and transforming our waterfront into a beautiful destination within our city. Mayor Barlow’s vision for the International Pier and the Wright’s Landing Marina will protect our shoreline from future damage and transform our local assets into an attraction, directly producing economic benefits for the city of Oswego and Central New York.”
“Oswego’s waterfront is what built the city of Oswego. The shoreline was devastated by considerable flooding that began in May 2017 and then reoccurred in 2019,” said Fire Chief Randy Griffin, the Emergency Management Director for the city of Oswego. “Since that time, city officials across city departments, under the leadership of Mayor Barlow, have worked tirelessly with our State and Federal partners to make our projects come to fruition. Today we start toward making our new, improved, and more resilient waterfront a reality.”
Thomas Kells, Commissioner of Oswego’s Department of Public Works, said, “We’re thrilled to be able to do a bulk of the construction work in-house with the Oswego DPW personnel and equipment. Being able to do this project in-house will save on project costs, expedites the construction schedule and gives our DPW employees an opportunity to participate in a project that will transform this community. We’re excited to help execute Mayor Barlow’s vision for Oswego’s waterfront and look forward to enjoying the final product.”
Mayor Barlow also announced the closure of both Wright’s and International Marinas today for the remainder of 2020 due to construction. “If we totally close both marinas at once, we can complete the construction quickly, rather than working around regular operations. During construction, conditions would not be even close to desire-able anyway, so it makes much more sense to totally close the marina this year, get the project done, and work to re-open in summer 2021”, Barlow said. Boaters who previously rents dock slips in either marina can call the Oswego Department of Public Works at 315-343-5055 to receive an immediate full refund.
The city of Oswego has been working with Vernon based Delta Engineers to design the projects since early 2019, prior to securing FEMA emergency declaration funding and Governor Cuomo’s REDI funding in fall 2019. In 2016, upon taking office, a waterfront feasibility study was conducted by the city of Oswego, outlining over two dozen projects to help capitalize on the Lake Ontario waterfront, a goal Barlow said would be a major focus of his administration throughout his tenure.