August 7, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces REDI Commission Co-Chairs Issue Letter to Lake Ontario Municipalities Providing Progress Update

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New York State Will Earmark up to $20 Million for an Expansion of NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal Residential Home Repair Program


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the co-chairs of the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative commission, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and ESD Chair Howard Zemsky, issued a letter to Lake Ontario municipalities providing a progress update on the Lake Ontario community planning process. In the letter, the co-chairs said that in response to numerous homeowners who have said they are still in need of individual assistance following Lake Ontario flooding, New York State will earmark up to $20 million to expand the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal Residential Home Repair Program.


The full text of the letter is available below:


August 7, 2019


Dear REDI Municipalities/Grantees:


With the first phase of the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) underway, we are pleased to provide a progress update on this important community planning process. As you know, in response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, REDI was created to address the immediate and long-term resiliency needs of these areas while also enhancing economic development opportunities and health of the lake. The REDI aims to develop a new vision for rebuilding and enhancing the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline from resiliency and economic development points of view, including protecting critical infrastructure and enhancing natural features that support coastal resilience. 


            Since we all gathered in Rochester this June, New York State planning teams have empowered REDI communities to bring hundreds of project ideas to the surface, to potentially be funded with up to $300 million. Two planning meetings have been held in each of the five regions, with at least two more to come by the end of September. Facilitated by the state's technical experts, communities are now examining the resiliency and economic benefit of their proposed projects, with the end goal of producing the highest quality submissions to the REDI Commission.


            As a point of clarification, local government can propose projects to protect against economic loss from home value deflation by flood exposure where the local government has identified a geographic configuration allowing a break wall or dunes to protect a critical mass of homes. For example, a water barrier will be ineffective if designed to only protect several homes as the water intrusion from the surrounding neighbors moot the effect of the barrier. Local governments would need to submit geographically and physically feasible project designs.


            While our focus is on regionally-significant efforts, we have also heard from a number of homeowners still in need of individual assistance and as a result will earmark up to $20 million of the $300 million for an expansion of our Department of Housing and Community Renewal Residential Home Repair Program.


            We are estimating awards of approximately up to $15 million total for qualifying projects per county and additional funding of up to $160 million in total for regionally significant large-scale economic development and resiliency projects.


            On behalf of the REDI Commission, we are grateful for the tremendous participation of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities thus far and are eager to review your submissions. Working together, we are confident that we can produce projects of great long-term community protection and benefit.


In addition to the REDI efforts, the state has undertaken significant tourism enhancement activities including I LOVE NY advertising, free fishing licenses on Lake Ontario and reduced park and camping fees.  


Together we will get through this challenge.  Thank you for your help. 




Commissioner Basil Seggos                                  Commissioner Howard Zemsky


REDI Commission Co-Chairs


cc: Senator Ritchie, Assemblymember Barclay, Assemblymember Manktelow


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