$2.55 Million to Elevate Riverwalk and Protect Local Businesses from Future Flood Damage
Nearly $2.5 Million in Grant Funding to Replace and Reconstruct Damaged Docks and Improve Accessibility for Recreational Boaters
$975,000 to Improve Village Docks by Veterans Memorial Monument, Promoting Public Safety
$250,000 to Protect and Stabilize Frink Park Regional Dock, a Critical Access Point for Large Watercraft
Part of New York State's $300 Million Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on a series of flood resiliency projects in the Village of Clayton, Jefferson County. The four projects were awarded nearly $6.3 million in grant funding through the State's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. Once complete, these REDI-funded projects will help mitigate the impact of future high-water events and improve resiliency of the shoreline.
"Today's investments in these transformative projects along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are critical in helping ensure the welfare of our shoreline communities," Governor Hochul said. "Through the REDI Program, we are working closely with local governments to address the threat of future flooding and mitigate the effects of climate change. Once complete, these improvements will stimulate economic development, promote tourism, and keep this popular destination safe and accessible during high water - ensuring that the Village of Clayton remains a thriving community for residents and visitors alike."
In 2019, the St. Lawrence River had record high water levels that resulted in devastating floods throughout communities along the river's shoreline. These events caused degradation of public infrastructure and restricted public use of popular tourist destinations like the Riverwalk, negatively impacting public safety and local economies. These projects will address at-risk infrastructure and boost economic development in Jefferson County.
The Village was awarded more than $8.6 million by the REDI Commission for a total of five projects. The fifth awarded resiliency project, the Village of Clayton Wastewater Collection and Treatment Plant improvements, began construction in 2021 and work is progressing. Today's announcement includes:
- The Riverwalk, $2,554,000: The Riverwalk, located along the St. Lawrence River, has become a popular destination for visitors and residents, connecting the various attractions and local businesses of the downtown shopping district. In 2019, high river levels and extreme wave action resulted in flood damage to sections of the Riverwalk. This project will help mitigate the impacts of future high-water events through the installation of an elevated boardwalk above the existing structure.
- Crib Dock at Mary Street Boat Launch, $2,489,000: There are two existing docks at Mary Street. The Main Dock at Mary Street provides essential docking space to visitors and residents. The dock is popular with tourists and allows visitors to access the local shops, museums and restaurants in the community. The smaller Mary Street Boat Launch Dock assists boaters launching their recreational vessels at the boat ramp. Due to flood events, both structures suffered significant damage, negatively affecting the stability of the docks and hindering accessibility to recreational boaters. Resiliency efforts in this project will include replacing the Boat Launch Dock with a new floating dock and reconstructing the Main Dock at a higher elevation.
- Village Docks by Veterans Monument, $975,000: The Village Dock and the Veterans Memorial Monument is popular with visitors and tourists as it allows direct access to the Riverwalk and local businesses. The existing Village Dock was installed in 1996 and consists of a wooden floating dock and anchoring system. High water and corresponding wave action threaten the future functionality of the Village Dock along the Riverwalk near the Veterans Memorial Monument. This project will consist of replacing the existing floating wave attenuator, providing protection from extreme wave action.
- Frink Park Regional Dock, $250,000: The Thousand Islands Regional Dock, located along the shoreline adjacent to Frink Park in downtown Clayton, is a crucial access point to the community as a U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard-certified 105c Port of Entry. The dock can host tall ships, yachts, tugboats, and cruise ships. It is vital that this dock remain open and accessible. Flood damage included washout of the landing pavers. Mitigation measures for this project include sealing gaps between the existing sheet pile wall and river bottom to protect the bulkhead wall and prevent erosion of fill from behind the wall.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "Project after project, the REDI Program is making a positive impact by promoting economic development in the region, safeguarding public health, protecting natural habitats, and fortifying shorelines against the threat of flood damage. With Governor Kathy Hochul's unwavering support, New York State is making sure that Clayton and other communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline will be better prepared for future high-water events."
New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez said, "It's vitally important that we do all we can to protect our communities from the devastation caused by flooding. These critical projects will enhance the safety and overall quality of life for residents, improve the viability for businesses and tourism, help to secure the structural integrity of the shoreline and improve preparedness against future high-water calamities."
State Senator Patty Ritchie said, "Clayton is a gem of the Thousand Islands that in recent years, has continually made improvements to attract new residents, businesses, and tourists to the Village. These latest enhancements will not only help protect Clayton from future high-water events, but also make it easier for people to enjoy the beautiful St. Lawrence River. I am pleased New York State is making these important investments and look forward to seeing how these projects further improve the Village of Clayton."
Assemblymember Mark Walczyk said, "Our region has seen the crippling effects high water can have on property owners and small businesses along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, which proves why investing in a strong, reliable infrastructure is key to a resilient economy and community. These REDI projects in the Village of Clayton are perfect examples of how to build back smarter and be prepared to fight back against any future high-water events."
Jefferson County Chairman William Johnson said, "Jefferson County has seen the REDI Program making a positive impact in shoreline communities, and we are thankful to New York State for the continued support and partnership in ensuring that our region is restored, and those who love to visit our communities may continue to do so and continue to do so for years to come."
Village of Clayton Mayor Norma Zimmer said, "Visitors from across the country travel to the Village of Clayton to enjoy all our community has to offer, including boating and fishing on the beautiful St. Lawrence River. Through REDI, we will improve and secure critical shoreline infrastructure so that even in times of high water, use of the shoreline will not be hindered."
Town of Clayton Supervisor Lance Peterson said, "As the Village of Clayton's REDI projects get underway, the Town would like to congratulate the Village. Hard work, determination, and a great partnership with New York State has allowed these important projects to come to fruition."
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from 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. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million to benefit communities and improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Since the creation of the State's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI-funded local and regional projects are underway, including 64 projects in the design phase, 29 projects in the construction phase, and 41 projects completed.
The State's REDI program included a $15 million Regional Dredging Project, an effort to provide a comprehensive approach to ongoing dredging needs for harbor navigation channels used primarily for recreational boating and refuge. The dredging removed built-up sediment from the bottom of the waterways to allow for continued safe harbor and passage of watercraft. Through the first two phases, the State tackled maintenance dredging of 20 harbor navigation channels, which are now complete. During Phase III, anticipated to take place later this summer, the State will transition program management to the Counties and provide the information they need to update, expand and implement an existing Regional Dredging Management Plan to keep the channels operational in the years to come.
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