Projects Selected by Local Community Reconstruction Committees Will Renovate Aging Infrastructure and Revitalize Government Buildings, Improving Storm Response and Resiliency Throughout the Regions
Four Projects Are Among More Than $41.1 Million in NY Rising Community Reconstruction Projects Getting Underway This Fall
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $11.1 million in projects in the North Country and Mohawk Valley are expected to begin this fall to help flood-prone communities plan and prepare for extreme weather events as they continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The funding is part of more than $41.1 million in NY Rising Community Reconstruction projects slated to get underway across the state this fall.
"In the face of increasingly powerful and destructive weather, protecting and hardening our infrastructure is more critical than ever," Governor Cuomo said. "Selected by local committees as priorities, these projects will help communities in the North Country and Mohawk Valley modernize their infrastructure, helping to ensure their resiliency against whatever Mother Nature has in store."
"We're providing the resources needed to ensure regions across the state are prepared for future extreme weather events," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for projects in the Mohawk Valley and the North Country will help municipalities plan for recovery efforts in the event of a natural disaster. We are investing in improvements to aging infrastructure to build back stronger. We want to make sure our communities are prepared and New Yorkers are safe."
The four projects announced today were identified by NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee members as priorities for their neighborhoods and are among hundreds moving forward funded by the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo established the NY Rising Community Reconstruction program to empower residents and business owners in the recovery and resiliency process, who best know where their needs and vulnerabilities lie and recommend the projects that will protect their communities and way of life.
The awards announced today for the North Country and Mohawk Valley are:
Enlarge Undersized Culverts, Town of Amsterdam (Montgomery) - $2,701,240: Crews will enlarge existing culverts at up to 12 road crossings in the town that were overwhelmed by flood waters during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Most culverts will require dual 24-inch reinforced concrete piping, new concrete headwalls with wing walls, stone riprap aprons and channel rehabilitation. Larger culverts will reduce flooding risk of road crossings and nearby properties. Construction is expected to begin this month.
Blenheim Municipal Complex School, Town of Blenheim (Schoharie) - $4,074,695: A new Blenheim Municipal Complex will be constructed outside the floodplain; the existing site is located in the floodplain and has flooded on multiple occasions. The project, funded through Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery, will house an EOC, Fire Department, Town Hall and Emergency Shelter. The new site will significantly reduce flood risk and provide adequate road access, allowing first responders to access all parts of the town. Construction is expected to begin in November.
South End Drainage Improvements, Village of Schoharie (Schoharie) - $1,457,337: A series of storm water drainage system improvements in the south end area will help protect village property and infrastructure during floods, as well as increase the resiliency of homes and businesses in the south end and Route 30/Main Street. Construction is expected to begin in November.
Rome Dam Removal, Town of Jay (Essex) - $2,945,595: For the past 40 years, the Rome Dam has steadily degraded and is now identified as high hazard by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Although the dam did not fail during Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee, the storms exacerbated the already perilous conditions by depositing more sediment and debris. Another storm of comparable magnitude could trigger a breach of the dam, jeopardizing residents of the hamlet of Au Sable Forks. Removal of the dam began in late summer.
Laurice Salamack, Regional Director, Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, said, "This collection of projects reflects the local needs and assets of communities. It also embodies their overwhelming desire to apply lessons learned from recent storms and, in the process, to cultivate more sustainable communities that will benefit generations of New Yorkers to come."
Senator Betty Little said, “This funding is critical to upgrade infrastructure that helps keep our communities safe. I represent many rural communities with small tax bases and no means of paying for these kinds of needed but expensive improvements. I am pleased we are seeing the benefit of this funding."
Senator James L. Seward said, "It has been seven years since Irene and Lee ravaged Schoharie County, but for many people, it still feels like yesterday. I have partnered closely with local officials to not only rebuild from the devastating storms, but to do so in a way that will better prepare communities for future storm events. The infrastructure projects in Blenheim and Schoharie meet key public safety needs and will help shore up our roads, homes, businesses, and municipal facilities moving forward."
Senator George Amedore said, "A strong and reliable infrastructure is a key ingredient to safe communities. Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused significant devastation throughout Montgomery County, partially due to outdated infrastructure. These improvements to the culverts in the Town of Amsterdam will help to mitigate flood water issues in the future, and keep residents and first responders safer."
Assembly Member Chris Tague said, "I am immensely pleased with the attention our community is receiving. Our homes and businesses were ravaged by hurricanes Irene and Lee and to this day some of our vital infrastructure is still woefully overburdened. Repairing and modernizing it will help improve our quality of life and work to lower flood risk in the future. These projects will help us move forward with peace of mind, a drive to grow and show the world just how resilient and strong we as a community are."
Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort said, "These funds will help improve our resiliency in the face of future storms. We are always working to improve our infrastructure, especially in areas that have been impacted by severe weather in the past. I'm hopeful that widening these culverts will reduce the potential for flooding and keep residents safe for years to come."
Earl VanWormer III, Chairman, Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, and Town Supervisor, Town of Esperance said, "I would like to thank the Governor and his Office of Storm Recovery very much for being a major part of Schoharie County's recovery efforts. We look forward to working with the Governor's office and others on this very important project in the Town of Blenheim."
Claude Coons, Chairman, Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District Board said, "The Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and our staff are very excited about starting construction of the South End Drainage Project on behalf of one of our municipalities profoundly impacted by Hurricane Irene in 2011. This project will help in the Village's recovery efforts that continue to this day, by addressing a problem that would otherwise plague the residents of this community."
Archie Depo, Town Supervisor, Town of Jay, said, "We are grateful to the Governor for the funding provided to our town, especially for the Rome Dam project. The Rome dam was rated a high hazard dam. Had it failed, the ensuing flood could've resulted in the loss of life and homes downstream. I would like to thank the former Town Supervisor, Randy Douglas and the planning committee for their invaluable work on this project, which is nearing completion. This was a major improvement for our town; I can't speak enough about this."
Altogether, more than 650 New Yorkers served on 66 NY Rising Community Reconstruction planning committees across the State, and have together proposed hundreds of projects inspired by the unique needs and assets of their regions. Collectively, NYRCR committees have held 650 planning meetings and 250 large-scale public engagement events as they have worked to rebuild more sustainable communities, reinforce infrastructure, mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters, and spur revitalization.
Established in June 2013, GOSR coordinates Statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Through its NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program — as well as its NY Rising Housing Recovery, Small Business, Infrastructure and Rebuild by Design programs — GOSR invests $4.5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding to better prepare New York for extreme weather events. More information about GOSR and its programs is available online at http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/.
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