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Cuomo: More than $615,000 in Lake Ontario flood relief funds for Niagara County town municipalities

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Mon, Apr 2nd 2018 12:00 pm
Provides grants to Newfane & Barker for recovery and strengthening infrastructure against future floods; part of $55 million state commitment to recovery efforts
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced the Town of Newfane and the Village of Barker in Niagara County have been awarded $615,083 in Lake Ontario flood relief funds to support restoration resiliency efforts following last year's flooding, and to protect the community from the damage of future storms. The state has committed $55 million to recovery efforts to support homeowners, small businesses and community infrastructure.
"Niagara County experienced historic and severe flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario last year, and New York will continue to lend a hand to those families who are still recovering," Cuomo said. "We will continue to provide real relief to those affected by storms, as this funding will to help build Newfane and Barker back stronger and smarter than ever before."
The Town of Newfane has been awarded $65,693 in Lake Ontario flood relief program funds to reimburse the municipality for necessary emergency expenses incurred as a result of the Lake Ontario flood event. These included funds for the use of equipment to pump overburdened storm drains, the cleaning of stormwater drainage lines and culverts, and the purchase of sandbags delivered to residents in the commercial and residential areas surrounding the town's Olcott Harbor. Overtime costs for emergency personnel are also included.
Newfane, which has a population of nearly 9,450 residents, also has been awarded $500,000 to produce a feasibility study and construction plan related to future flood mitigation for Olcott Harbor, the only deep-water port along the southern shore of Lake Ontario between the Niagara River and City of Rochester.
Both Olcott Harbor and Newfane experienced substantial flooding, erosion, shoreline and structural damage in the summer of 2017's Lake Ontario flooding.
The Village of Barker has been awarded $49,390 in flood relief and recovery funds to construct a 190-foot breakwall in the village's Bi-Centennial Park, which experienced significant erosion and damage because of the 2017 Lake Ontario flood event. Due to the persistent high water levels of Lake Ontario, the park's coastline has greatly eroded, leading to a loss of between 18 to 24 inches of shoreline. This erosion has exposed village drainpipes and tree roots. Funding will enable the village to both make repairs to the shoreline and to prevent a similar situation from reoccurring along the coastline.
"Having walked through flooded communities seeing the destruction firsthand, and meeting with countless business owners and home owners, I know the devastating impact the Lake Ontario flooding had on people in Niagara County," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "They have been through very difficult times in the past year, and we've stood by their side during the ongoing recovery. Our commitment continues with this latest funding to build resiliency and invest in critically important infrastructure improvements for the future."
Following the flooding of both Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway, which damaged homes, businesses and local infrastructure, Cuomo and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services coordinated with county and local partners to monitor water levels and deliver resources, including millions of sandbags and the construction of thousands of feet of temporary dams. An initial $45 million commitment to provide aid to residents, small businesses and municipalities affected by the flood was supplemented with two $5 million grants from the state and municipal facilities program to bolster previous relief and provide necessary financial assistance to recovery efforts.
RuthAnne Visnauskas, commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, "These funds provide the tools and resources to Lake Ontario communities such as Newfane and Barker to both recover from last year's flooding and prepare (to) protect them from the dangers of rising water in the future. This not only is Gov. Cuomo delivering on his promise to Newfane and Barker, it is a vote of confidence in their futures."
Town of Newfane Supervisor Timothy Horanburg said, "On behalf of the people of Newfane, we are grateful Gov. Cuomo has taken such an interest in our community to provide relief for the damage caused, and looking ahead to prevent or minimize damage of future extreme weather events."
Niagara County Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall said, "This reimbursement for our lakeshore communities' expenditures during last year's state of emergency represents an important step in the state's ongoing commitment to helping our region shoulder the burden brought on by Lake Ontario flooding. As we prepare for more high water this year, we're grateful to the governor and the State Legislature for their work to secure these vital funds."
Village of Barker Mayor Aaron Nellist said, "The Bi-Centennial Park, which was established in 1910, is a small jewel that is enjoyed by area residents and visitors. The public's access to the park has been limited due to the installation of temporary fencing to ensure public safety from the shoreline erosion. Therefore, the village is extremely grateful to the governor for the funding to provide a permanent stable shoreline to protect the park and its visitors for many more years to come. Without the grant funding from the NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the Village's Bi-Centennial Park may be have been closed permanently. The village is excited for these repairs to begin in early April."

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