Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced construction is complete on a $2.5 million resiliency project awarded to the Town of Yates, Orleans County, as part of New York State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative.
The Yates Town Park serves as the Town’s only public recreation space with direct access to Lake Ontario, with more than one acre of open space for recreation, including a pavilion and picnic area, and the new project will be instrumental in helping prevent future flood damage to the park and safeguard the local economy.
“Many of New York’s communities continue to be at risk of the effects of climate change, and projects like these better protect our shoreline communities,” Governor Hochul said. “The Town of Yates Park expansion project will increase flood protection measures and enhance shoreline resilience to help protect businesses and residents, enhance public safety, and spur economic development.”
The park is a popular destination for both residents and visitors and during the historic flooding of 2019, the park experienced substantial erosion along the shoreline. The recreational space was inundated with water due to poor drainage, posing safety risks for parkgoers and inhibiting use of the park. The resiliency project completed through the REDI Program will stabilize the shoreline, mitigate future flooding, and ensure continued access to Yates Town Park during periods of high water. Resiliency measures and park improvements in the project include:
- Upgrades to the parks drainage and stormwater management systems to resolve the serious drainage and ponding challenges;
- Shoreline stabilization at the boat launch;
- Installation of a cartop boat launch;
- Construction of an ADA compliant fishing/water access pier;
- Installation of new playground equipment, a walking trail, new pavilion, and bathroom facilities;
- Expansion of the park’s parking area; and
- Improvements to landscaping and greenspace.
New York State Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez said, “Making our waterways accessible to residents and tourists is vital to any local economy. Thanks to the REDI program, the improvements and upgrades to Yates Town Park will ensure the shoreline is protected from future flooding but also make for a better recreational experience to all its visitors for generations to come.”
A new kayak launch is part of the improvements at the Town Park. The launch also provides easy pedestrian access to the shoreline.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “With Governor Hochul’s support, New York’s REDI investments are successfully reimagining and reconstructing flood-damaged infrastructure, helping to promote tourism and developing new economic opportunities in Lake Ontario shoreline communities. The improved Yates Park will provide years of enjoyment for residents, while also attracting new visitors to the region.”
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “This is great news for the Yates community. I congratulate the state and local partners for working to make Yates Town Park safer, more resilient and more accessible for the community.”
Economic Development Initiative Co-Chair and Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Placemaking is an important pillar of New York’s economic development strategy. Making Yates Town Park more resilient not only enhances this magnificent public space for residents and visitors to access Lake Ontario, but also ensures the region’s waterfront continues to contribute to the local economy.”
A 60-foot-long pier will soon be built extending out into the lake and providing fishing access.
State Senator Robert Ortt said, “As we celebrate the bicentennial of the Town of Yates, we also celebrate the completion and opening of a wonderful new greenspace for the families in our community. Not only will the Yates Town Park serve as a great location for residents to gather and spend time together, but it will also provide protection against Lake Ontario flooding thanks to the shoreline stabilization incorporated in this REDI project. The completion of this project is a great example of how the REDI Commission can implement shoreline stabilization while combining it with a great community-use project.”
Assemblyman Steve Hawley said, “These upgrades to Yates Town Park will help it be a more accessible, safe and fun family destination than ever. I am glad that these projects will soon be completed for people near and far to enjoy and hope they’ll encourage locals to spend a day at the park with people they love sometime soon.”
Orleans County Legislature Chairman Lynne Johnson said, “As we continue to wrap up REDI projects in Orleans County, I want to thank the Governor and the REDI Commission for their continued support as we fortify our lakefront infrastructure to make it more resilient to future Lake Ontario high water events. This project not only improved our resiliency to high water events but improved the quality of life for the members of our community by providing reliable and useable recreational infrastructure for everyone to enjoy.”
Town of Yates Supervisor James Simon said, “What better way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Town of Yates than to cut the ribbon at our beautifully renovated town park on Lake Ontario? We are grateful for the partnership and support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the REDI Commission as we navigated this project from design to completion.”
State Sen. Rob Ortt speaks at today’s celebration at the Yates Town Park for the town’s 200th anniversary and for the park improvements. Town officials also announced the pavilion would be named in honor of former Town Supervisor Russ Martino, who pushed to acquire the land for the park by Lake Ontario 25 years ago.
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million, to benefit communities and improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Since the creation of the State’s REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 52 projects in the design phase, 40 projects in the construction phase, and 42 projects completed.