$20 million to be designated for home repair program following flooding on Lake Ontario shoreline

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State is planning to use more money toward helping shoreline communities affected by Lake Ontario’s flooding.

According to Gov. Cuomo, a letter was sent to Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) municipalities and grantees, giving them an update on progress.

The state says up to $20 million will be earmarked for an expansion of a residential home repair program.

Here is the letter, sent by REDI Commission co-chairs DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and ESD Chair Howard Zemsky:

“Dear REDI Municipalities/Grantees:

With the first phase of the Regional 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. 

Sincerely,

Commissioner Basil Seggos                                 

Commissioner Howard Zemsky

REDI Commission Co-Chairs

cc: Senator Ritchie, Assemblymember Barclay, Assemblymember Manktelow”

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