CLAYTON — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced that Jefferson and St. Lawrence County communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River will receive a combined $60 million in funding from the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. That is the highest allocation granted to any region in the state.
Before he announced the funding from his podium at the Clayton Opera House, Gov. Cuomo decided to take part in the Halloween festivities and play a trick on attendees. He said to the crowd of more than 150 state, county and local officials, as well as other stakeholders, that despite their hard work, the region would receive no funds. He then said, “Trick or treat. Got you for a moment, though.”
“This is building what never has been built before. This is literally improving your community,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The economic competitiveness of your community, the homes in your community, the facilities in your community, they’re going to be better than ever before.”
The $300 million initiative, also know as REDI, aims to aid waterfront cities, towns and villages by helping fund infrastructure projects that bolster their defense against future flooding, as well as generate economic development. High water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River flooded homes, submerged docks and inundated and eroded shorelines across the state.
“Let’s spend money to actually improve the conditions, so when the high water comes back, we don’t have the damage again,” Gov. Cuomo said. “To continually spend 100, 200 million dollars to keep repairing and knowing that the water’s going to come back and do the same damage again is a fool’s errand. And New Yorkers are not fools.”
The $60 million allocation for Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties supports 38 projects across the region, said state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, who co-chaired the REDI Commission. Municipalities need to provide a five percent local match to the funds they receive for their projects.
Out of all five regions REDI supports, the region that encompasses the two north country counties will receive the most funds for the most projects. Niagara and Orleans counties, which make up one region, were awarded $49 million for 20 projects; Monroe County was awarded $43 million for 33 projects, Wayne County was awarded $41 million for 10 projects, and Cayuga and Oswego counties, which also encompass one region, were awarded $43 million for 31 projects.
“No other state is doing this right now,” Mr. Seggos said. “Every state has a problem with its waterfront on the Great Lakes, all five Great Lakes, all of them are experiencing problems. None of them are doing what New York is doing right now. None of them are looking long-term, resiliency, economic development.”
Gov. Cuomo said the recipient municipalities have three weeks to “do whatever you need to do to get the projects going.” Officials were invited to a full-day session in Albany after three weeks to help them overcome any hurdles in executing their projects.
The Village of Waddington was awarded the largest single allocation among north country municipalities, with $11 million for its wastewater system. Proposed improvements to the system, which serve about 900 residents and businesses, include repairing and enhancing the treatment plant, replacing clay tile sewer mains and installing new storm water mains and laterals, among others.
The funding will finance 50 percent of the $22 million in repairs to the almost 80-year-old Waddington wastewater system. Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada said the funding helps bring the project to fruition, and encourages the village to apply for more grants. The high waters have caused the system to overflow and pushed more water for the system to process, Mrs. Otto-Cassada said.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Waddington Trustee Michael Zagrobelny. “Truly a recognition for Waddington that the rest of the state, specifically the governor, recognizes the importance of St. Lawrence County, and Waddington as very important to St. Lawrence County.”
The village of Clayton will receive multiple funding awards for different projects, including $3.75 million to raise portions of the Riverwalk in downtown that are below sea level and shoreline stabilization along 1,250 feet of shore. Clayton Mayor Norma J. Zimmer said without the REDI allocation, the village could not raise the Riverwalk because few funding sources could support it.
Alexandria Bay also won a few awards for different projects, including $2 million for the Upper and Lower James Street docks. Alexandria Bay Mayor Steven E. Jarvis said the village wants to replace them with floating docks.
“This is for the village, for the town and for the river communities,” Mr. Jarvis said.
Of the $300 million the state has allocated for the REDI initiative, $20 million has been earmarked for homeowner assistance, $20 million has been allocated for business resiliency projects and $15 million has been set aside for a regional dredging effort.
Primary homeowners with properties along the lake and river were provided priority when applying for a portion of the $20 million for homeowner assistance. Gov. Cuomo said Thursday that applications for them have closed, allowing secondary homeowners to apply for a portion of the $8 million of remaining funds.
“Now $300 million is the largest investment the state has made in this region in modern political history, and I’m proud of it,” Gov. Cuomo said.
- Route 57 on Point Peninsula in the town of Lyme, $5.7 million
- Clayton Riverwalk, $3.75 million
- Clayton wastewater treatment collection and plant, $2.37 million
- Alexandria Bay water treatment facility, $260,000
- Cape Vincent East End Park, $1 million
- Cape Vincent Market Street sewer, $705,000
- Cape Vincent, Point Street Seawall, $65,000
- Cape Vincent, Real Street Seawall, $103,000
- Sackets Harbor, seawall near water treatment plant, $160,000
- Sackets Harbor, Brown Shore Road, $2.5 million
- Waddington wastewater treatment plant, $11 million
- Ogdensburg, Maple City Trail, $2 million
- Morristown, Northumberland Street Bridge, $2.1 million
- Ogdensburg, Fort de la Presentation trail, $1.2 million
- Regional dredging plan, $15 million
- Publicly owned regional docks and boat launches, $24.9 million
- Alexandria, Goose Bay Boat Launch,$455,000
- Town of Clayton, shoreline near hotel and riverwalk, $3 million
- Town of Clayton, upper landing on Grindstone Island boat launch, $600,000
- Town of Clayton, Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina, $1.257 million
- Orleans, Fishers Landing boat launch, $400,000
- Alexandria Bay, Upper and St. James Street dock, $2 million
- Alexandria Bay, Scenic View Park Pier, $1.1 million
- Cape Vincent, village dock, $50,000
- Cape Vincent, village boat ramp, $50,000
- Cape Vincent, Esseltyne public dock, $3.1 million
- Village of Clayton, Crib dock at Mary Street boat launch, $938,000
- Village of Clayton, docks by Veteran's Monument, $183,000
- Village of Clayton, Frink Park regional dock, $1.39 million
- Dexter, boat launch, fishing area, $59,000
- Sackets Harbor, market Square including boat launch on West Main Street, $1.5 million
- Ogdensburg, Municipal Marina and City Docks close to Dobisky Center, $911,973
- Hammond, Chippewa Bay Boat Launch, $430,000
- Hammond, Oak Point boat launch, $140,000
- Waddington, public dockage, $750,000
- Ogdensburg, Greenbelt Park, $530,000
- Ogdensburg, Morissette Park, $4.9 million
- Lyme, Point Salubrious County Route 125, $1.5 million
High water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River flooded homes, submerged docks, inundated and eroded shorelines in waterfront cities, towns and villages this year and in 2017.
The $300 million initiative, also know as REDI, aims to aid affected communities by helping fund infrastructure projects that bolster their defense against future inundation, as well as generate economic development. Of the $300 million the state has allocated for the REDI initiative, $20 million has been earmarked for homeowner assistance, $20 million has been allocated for business resiliency projects and $15 million has been set aside for a regional dredging effort.
Clayton Town Supervisor Lance L. Peterson Sr. said because the first local REDI meeting was held in Clayton in July, it was appropriate that the funding awards would be announced at the same location where the process started in the north country.
“I’m very proud. I’m very proud of our community and very proud of what we have to offer,” Mr. Peterson said.
The regional planning committee for REDI that represents Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties submitted more than 200 private and public projects for state funding in September.
Funding requests recommended by the committee include $11 million for the village of Waddington’s wastewater system, $10.6 million for the town of Henderson’s wastewater system, $2 million for the city of Ogdensburg’s Maple City Trail, $1.295 million for the Fort de la Presentation’s interpretive trail in Ogdensburg, and various projects in Alexandria Bay, Clayton, Cape Vincent, Sackets Harbor and other areas.
The state awarded the first allocations of REDI funding last week for projects in Monroe, Wayne, Orleans and Niagara counties. Officials awarded a combined $84 million for 43 projects in Monroe and Wayne counties and $49 million for 20 projects in Orleans and Niagara counties.