Schumer tours flood damage 8.JPG

Sandbags are set against rising water at Turtle Cove Marina in Fair Haven in June.

A $30 million state program will assist businesses in eight counties, including Cayuga, fund resiliency projects to protect against future Lake Ontario flooding. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the launch of the Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program. The program is open to businesses along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties. 

Businesses could be eligible for reimbursement up to 50% of the costs of a project. The maximum award is $200,000. 

Projects eligible for state funding must "reduce the applicant's vulnerability to risks that were experienced during the high water events" along Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and other waterways, according to Cuomo's office. Projects could include elevating or moving restaurants or parking, raising and relocating fueling facilities, converting docks to floating docks or creating buffers along the waterfront. 

Applicants are eligible for state help if they were affected by flooding between Jan. 1, 2019 through Oct. 31, 2019. If they weren't affected by flooding, funding could be provided if they can demonstrate "vulnerability to future flood-related damage." 

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Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2020. The application and more details about the program are available at esd.ny.gov

"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," Cuomo said in a statement. 

The business fund is another part of the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative launched by Cuomo earlier this year. The state pledged up to $300 million to strengthen infrastructure and boost businesses along the shoreline. The program is Cuomo's response to flooding and record-high water levels. 

The lake eclipsed 249 feet in June, which is a record. Flooding also occurred in 2017. Many of the communities along the lake didn't recover from the high water levels two years ago. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.