OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWTI) — Construction officially began on Monday on a $1.3 million resiliency project in Ogdensburg.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the start of construction at the Fort de la Presentation in the City of Ogdensburg. The project site is located on a peninsula on the St. Lawrence River at the intersection of the Oswegatchie River, which has previously experienced heavy erosion and flooding.

According to the Governor’s Office, the $1.3 million project awarded to the Fort de la Presentation Association will rebuild flood damaged shorelines and trails with more resilient designs, aiming to mitigate future damage and provide enhanced wildlife habitat.

Fort de la Presentation Association President Barbara O’Keefe also shared excitement regarding the start to construction.

“Historic flooding in 2017 and 2019 had devastating effects on the shoreline of Fort de la Presentation highlighting the need for shoreline stabilization,” stated O’Keefe. “In addition, excessive wind and wave action caused flooding and damage to our new interpretive trail. Flooding reached across the access road, spreading inland. The Fort Association did not have the funds to repair these damages or stabilize the shore.”

This project is a part of the New York State Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative created by Governor Andrew Cuomo in response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

“People travel from across the state to enjoy the recreational opportunities and the rich history of the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence County shoreline communities,” stated Governor Cuomo. “The unprecedented flooding that occurred in 2019 devastated infrastructure vital to the tourist industry that this region relies on. Through REDI we are assisting communities in not only rebuilding but in reimaging more resilient infrastructure that will withstand future flooding and support the critical tourism economy.”

Proposed mitigated measures for the resiliency project include:

  • Stabilization of the Oswegatchie River shoreline using riprap with live stake plantings and toe wood, toe rock installations
  • Raising a portion of the Abbe Piquet Trail above flood elevation and constructing an overlook deck platform on the St. Lawrence River shoreline
  • Shoreline work along the St. Lawrence River including rock sill stabilization with soil lifts, natural stone slab steps for pointed access to the river and plantings along the shoreline

St. Lawrence County Chairman William Sheridan commented on the commencement of the project.

 “St. Lawrence County is very encouraged by the anticipated groundbreaking for the Fort de la Presentation Trail Project in Ogdensburg,” stated Chairman Sheridan. “The local effort that has gone into restoring the land at the Fort location is a critical component of the cultural and historic preservation efforts in the area and is encouraging for tourism along the great St. Lawrence River. This ground breaking will be emblematic of overcoming a natural disaster that damaged the shores along the Northern Border of New York State.”

The start to construction at Fort de la Presentation in the City of Ogdensburg officially began on May 10, 2021.