NY accepting applications for businesses hurt by Lake Ontario flooding

Posted 22 November 2019 at 5:36 pm

$30 million available for businesses in Orleans, 7 other counties

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the application period for the Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program is now open to businesses and other organizations directly impacted by the historic flooding of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River earlier this year.

The Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative Commission has made available up to $30 million to support resiliency-related capital improvement projects at affected businesses and other eligible organizations, which may qualify for reimbursement of up to 50 percent of project costs, with a maximum award of $200,000.

“The historic flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River left unprecedented damage in its wake, and we have committed significant resources to help ensure impacted businesses can make repairs, recover and once again drive our regional economies forward,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to focus on regionally-significant rebuilding and resiliency efforts, it is critical to make this funding available to businesses as it will provide much needed support and financial relief and help all communities with their recovery efforts.”

Eligible applicants include most private businesses, homeowner’s associations, certain not-for profits, farms, and owners of multiple dwellings used for business purposes located in the eight-county coverage area.

Additional requirements include:

• Applicants must have been impacted by flooding between January 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019, or, if not directly damaged and sufficient funding is available, possess a demonstrated vulnerability to future flood-related damage.

• Applicants must receive a local matching contribution from their municipality totaling at least 5 percent of the program assistance funds. This contribution may include, but is not limited to:

  • Tax abatements and exemptions, including from an Industrial Development Authority
  • Local government fee waivers of the costs of ordinarily due permits and fees
  • Direct expenditures by local governments on project-related infrastructure costs

Eligible capital projects must reduce the applicant’s vulnerability to risks that were experienced during the high water events along the shores of Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and other nearby waterways such as flooding or erosion.

Examples of eligible projects could include:

• Elevating and or moving, landward, non-water dependent features such as offices, restrooms, stores, restaurants, parking or boat storage;

• Raising/relocating fueling facilities;

• Converting to floating docks or other docks that allow for movement with water levels (adapted to both high and low water) such that docks can raise to a minimum elevation;

• Strengthening existing dockage by evaluating and strengthening connection points between dock sections (typically the weakest point in a dock’s design); and

• Retaining and/or creating vegetated buffers along the waterfront.

Applications must be postmarked by January 31, 2020. Applications and program guidelines, including the full list of project criteria, are available on the Empire State Development website (click here).

The funding is a component of Governor Cuomo’s REDI, which includes a multi-agency commission that has been studying ways to strengthen infrastructure along Lake Ontario’s waterfront while bolstering the region’s local economies. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million to rebuild the shoreline, as well as improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner, President & CEO-Designate and REDI Commission Co-Chair Eric Gertler said, “Businesses are a key part of a community’s vibrancy, and their resilience is essential to a region’s long-term economic success. We have partnered with all stakeholders throughout the REDI process, including the business community, to ensure the necessary expertise and resources are available to not only rebuild, but to rebuild to a higher standard of resiliency in the face of future storms.”

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