Sandbags sit stacked on top of each other along the St. Lawrence River Walk in May 2019 in Clayton. Businesses damaged by the historic flooding that year are eligible for up to $200,000 in grant funding to repair damage and prevent further flooding. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

The state has made $17 million in grant funding available for businesses along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines to repair damage from prior flooding and prevent against further damage.

Announced on Thursday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the funding is from the Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program, and will be distributed through the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI. More than 140 businesses will receive grants from the program.

“We know that climate change is real and there’s no such thing as a ‘hundred-year flood’ — it’s the new normal and we need to be prepared for anything Mother Nature sends our way,” Gov. Cuomo said in the release announcing the funds. “The Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program is providing critical help to businesses to repair the damage from repeated flooding while strengthening their resiliency efforts as the build back better than before.”

The funding will be available to private businesses, homeowners associations, some not-for-profits, farms and owners of multiple houses used for business purposes within the eight counties covered by REDI; Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

In Jefferson County, 64 businesses received a combined $8.2 million, nine businesses in St. Lawrence County received roughly $600,000 altogether and six businesses in Oswego County received more than $700,000.

Grants from the program will cover at most 50 percent of project costs, up to $200,000. Eligible projects include moving land structures like offices, restrooms, stores, restaurants and parking areas, relocating fueling facilities, converting docks to floating structures or strengthening fixed docks and creating vegetation buffers along the water.

“Thousands of New York State businesses span the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and rely on these bodies of water for their way of life,” said Eric Gertler, co-chair of REDI and acting commissioner of Empire State Development. “Many of these businesses were severely impacted by reoccurring flooding and high-water levels and this funding will help build these businesses back stronger and smarter than ever before so they can withstand future flooding events and remain integral components of their communities.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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