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NYS expands eligibility for lakeshore resiliency project funding

Veronica Volk

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced some changes this week to his plan to build back the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The state's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Commission has been meeting with people from municipalities all along the shoreline and heard many concerns about the commission's response to lake flooding.

The state is putting aside $300 million to fund resiliency projects in these communities, which has seen major flooding in recent years.

"Common sense and prudence dictates that we do expect flooding in the future," the governor told public radio's WXXI Wednesday. "Rather than doing intermediate repairs, let’s make the shoreline more resilient. Let's improve the shoreline anticipating high water levels in the future so we don’t go through this every couple of years."

The governor announced that some of that money, $30 million, would be available to private businesses, like marinas, and additional dollars would be available to owners of second homes.

"I don’t think they should move," he said. "I think they should anticipate a repeat of the higher water level and prepare for it."

The governor also reduced the amount of money that municipalities would need to match in grants, in order to potentially fund more projects in smaller communities.

"Throughout this process we heard concerns regarding the 15% local contribution," said REDI Commissioner Co-chairs Basil Seggos and Eric Gertler in a letter to municipalities. "In response to the financial concerns expressed, the Commission has decided to uniformly lower the local contribution from 15% to 5% for all qualifying projects. Local participation is essential as it assures the bona fide government priority and efficiency."

Veronica Volk is the Great Lakes Reporter/Producer for WXXI News, exploring environmental and economic issues, water, and wildlife throughout the region for radio, television, and the web.
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