Gov.Andrew Cuomo says the state is providing $60 million to advance 38 projects in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties under the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI), as part of a $300 million budget allocation for shoreline community projects.
The Oct. 31 announcement marks a major milestone in the REDI effort, the governor says in a statement. Identified by the communities and evaluated by state agency experts, the projects address both immediate and long-term resiliency needs, enhance economic development, protect critical infrastructure, incorporate green, natural, or nature-based features, and will help sustainably rebuild and enhance communities along the Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River shorelines.
The REDI Commission will hold an implementation conference in Albany on Nov. 20. The conference will provide REDI funding recipients with information about project implementation, including permitting and environmental reviews, as well as an opportunity to meet with relevant state agencies to ensure projects are implemented as soon as possible.
The governor also announced that up to $8 million will be available to qualifying secondary homeowners as part of the overall $20 million homeowner assistance package to help all members of the lakefront communities recover from flood-related damages.
“New Yorkers living and working along the shorelines of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River have endured extensive damages from record flooding and the state is continuing to step up to help,” Cuomo said in the statement. “I am pleased to announce these 38 REDI projects for St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties, which will help these communities rebuild and recover after devastating losses while ensuring the area’s infrastructure and habitats are better prepared and more resilient in the face of future high water levels.”
Five REDI regions, comprised of 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. The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties. The remaining balance, $235 million, has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.
To identify projects, over the course of three months, REDI organized 25 stakeholder and community meetings and workshops with hundreds of local residents, convened more than 15 planning committee meetings, and directed New York State agency and engineering experts to expend thousands of hours to evaluate more than 500 projects proposed by communities. The projects comprise a range of at-risk assets, including shoreline stabilization, public health and safety, critical water and wastewater infrastructure, marinas and harbors, and land loss/value, among other priorities, with an emphasis on natural or nature-based features and green infrastructure.
For each project, multi-jurisdictional permit reviews, and any associated environmental reviews, will be needed prior to any final determination to proceed. To build resilience, reduce the risk of future property damage, and minimize habitat impacts, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has compiled general guidelines for coastal design and development projects. These guidelines include technical data, regulatory guidance, best practices, and available resources for development along the dynamic shorelines of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. This comprehensive technical and permitting information to help expedite the permitting process is available on the REDI guidance webpage.
The complete list of the 38 projects in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties is available here. Highlighted REDI projects and estimated costs include:
St. Lawrence County
- The $11 million project to address infiltration and inflow issues at the Village of Waddington’s Wastewater Collection and Treatment Facilities includes improvements for the collection system, including replacing or relining the existing clay tile sewer mains and constructing new stormwater mains. The proposed improvements for the treatment system include a new headworks building and associated equipment, new sludge storage tanks, drying bed improvements, manual sludge dewatering equipment, clarifier modifications, conversion of the existing gaseous chlorine to liquid chlorine for disinfection, new outfall, building renovations, demolition, yard piping, emergency generator, and additional site work.
- $4,875,000 for the Morissette Park and City Dock Project in the City of Ogdensburg, including potentially elevating and adjusting its location, will ensure continuous public water access to this important local economic driver.
- $2,100,000 for the Northumberland Street Bridge Project in the Town of Morristown will open the channel under the structure, allowing for improved flow and passage of aquatic biota.
- The $1,295,000 Fort De La Presentation Trail Project in the City of Ogdensburg will address erosion and flooding at this site adjacent to the St. Lawrence River. The installation of shoreline stabilization measures and raising the trails will increase accessibility and ensure this site remains a local destination for visitors.
- The $430,000 Chippewa Bay Boat Launch Project in the Town of Hammond will protect this local business asset by replacing fixed elevation docks with floating docks and slips, elevating fuel pumps, tanks, and other infrastructure to protect assets from high water levels, and installing stabilization measures at the water’s edge to safeguard infrastructure.
- The $5,450,000 County Road 57 and Point Peninsula Project in the Town of Lyme includes raising the road and installing shoreline stabilization measures to ensure continuous access for residents and emergency responders.
- The $3,750,000 Riverwalk Project in the Village of Clayton includes raising the height of the Riverwalk in areas that are below flood stage. This would provide flood protection for an area that includes 11 properties in a registered historic district and serves as a commercial hub for this community.
- The $2 million Upper and Lower James Dock Project in the Village of Alexandria Bay will improve the resiliency of this facility, a critical local economic driver and waterfront business by replacing fixed elevation docks with floating docks, relocating fuel pumps, tanks, and permanent structures to higher elevation, and installing stabilization measures at the water’s edge.
- The $1 million East End Park Project in the Village of Cape Vincent will address damage caused by erosion to the existing seawall and docks. Mitigation measures include resetting the top tiers of the limestone portion of the seawall and raising the wall system, constructing a quarry stone apron behind the seawall, replacing sidewalk adjacent to the seawall, replacing the underdrain, and replacing dock decking, among other improvements.
- The $160,000 Seawall Project near the water treatment facility in the Village of Sackets Harbor will install additional shoreline protection measures and protect the water intake at this facility. This project will bolster the coastal resiliency of the water treatment plant and surrounding area.