Press-Republican

Environment

May 16, 2014

NY gives $9M for flood control

Funds given to towns to protect communities from natural disasters

KEENE — State reconstruction funding will deliver $9 million for flood protection in Keene and Jay.

The funding comes as result of an eight-month effort made by the New York Rising to the Top Committee from these Essex County towns that outlined priority projects for the State Office of Storm Recovery.

Last August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had offered $6 million — $3 million for each town to protect their residents and businesses from future flood damage.

But an additional $3 million came as the need for extensive river channel remediation, bridge and culvert replacement and water-system-infrastructure updates became clear.

The funding pool was announced after devastating storms Irene, Lee and Sandy ravaged New York in 2011 and 2012. It draws from federal Housing and Urban Development resources through Community Development Block Grants. Some waterway projects will require federal review.

COMPETITIVE PROCESS

The $9 million, said Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas in a statement, will pay for "projects that our respective towns could never have afforded to even think about without this NY Rising allocation.

“The ‘Rising to the Top’ award was a very competitive process, and winning one of the categories validated the hard work of the Jay/Keene Committee over the last seven-plus months."

Co-chairs of the Jay/Keene Committee were Scott McDonald and Vinny McClelland. Both expressed gratitude that relief for long-term flood mitigation is in sight.

The intensive logistical work done since last August pushed the towns to take stock, consider options and prioritize remediation needs.

'BOTTOM-UP APPROACH'

“We employed a community-driven, bottom-up approach that allows us to meet the unique and pressing local needs of New York’s diverse municipalities," said Jamie Rubin, state director of Storm Recovery, in a press release.

His approach echoed Cuomo's move to seek local direction.

“Rebuilding our communities is something that we cannot do from Albany or Washington (D.C.), rather, we have to do it community by community across the state,” Cuomo said of the NY Rising process he put in motion last year.

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