By KIM SMITH DEDAM
---- — KEENE — Keene firefighters are featured in a new television spot that celebrates renewal after flood.
A first public-service announcement for the New York Rising Community Reconstruction project began airing over the weekend. It includes Keene Volunteer Fire Department members in their turnout gear and a fire truck backing into the new Keene Fire Station.
The old firehouse was so badly battered by Tropical Storm Irene that it had to be replaced, which happened as well to the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department station.
The towns of Keene and Jay are among 102 communities around the state involved in New York Rising’s strategic planning process to draw from state funds for repairs and flood-mitigation projects connected to hurricanes Irene, Lee and/or Sandy.
The two Adirondack communities will share $6 million in restoration monies through the reconstruction program established by Gov. Andrew Cuomo with the slogan: “Building Back Better.”
Though Irene and Lee had been downgraded to tropical storms by the time they swept into the North Country, they left millions of dollars of destruction in their wakes.
AIRED DURING SERIES
Keene Town Supervisor Bill Ferebee was at the capitol in Albany on Monday, working with other Essex County leaders on a statewide emergency response plan.
He was aware of his town’s cameo appearance in the New York Rising ad.
“I think it shows a lot of folks from other areas the effects and damage from Tropical Storm Irene and what we’ve done in two years to repair it here,” Ferebee said.
“This new New York Rising project is helping many storm-damaged communities to rebuild. It is an opportunity for everyone in the state and elsewhere to see that.”
Josh Karan, a location manager based in New York City, was part of the production team that created the community-service announcement.
“I happened to see it for the first time last night,” he said from his office Monday. “It aired during the World Series.”
$3 MILLION BONUS
Cuomo held a NY Rising Community Reconstruction conference in Albany last week, one week before the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s destruction on Long Island and in New York City.
Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) shared the North Country’s experience in rebuilding and working through challenges in the wake of Irene at that conference.
In total, communities taking part in NY Rising will share nearly $500 million from a federal supplemental appropriation Cuomo obtained earlier this year.
In announcing the competitive community renewal grant plan, the Governor’s Office said the “state will also award at least $250 million of the state’s FEMA-funded Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to New York Rising communities to implement eligible projects contained in their plans.”
A $3 million bonus will be given to the best plans in categories that include community involvement, use of technology in planning and best regional collaboration.
A committee of residents from Keene and Jay are working on their region’s joint strategy now.
The final plans are due by April 1, 2014.
Email Kim Smith Dedam: firstname.lastname@example.org