New designation of New York state’s St. Regis River as an inland waterway opens the door to community revitalization funding

On June 11, 2020 in New York state, Senator Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) announced the bill that they sponsored to designate the St. Regis River as an inland waterway was passed in both houses of the state Legislature (S.6715/A.8827).

They had worked together to secure the designation, which provides grant opportunities for many North Country communities to complete waterfront revitalization projects.

Revitalized waterfronts will allow our communities to showcase their natural beauty, helping boost tourism efforts and attract new investment,” Jones said.

This designation is a huge win for our communities and will open up grant opportunities for the several neighborhoods that surround the St. Regis River. I’m grateful for Senator Little’s support on this initiative, and I’m calling upon the governor to lend his support as well to help strengthen the North Country community,” he added.

The Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Areas and Inland Waterways Act offers local governments the opportunity to participate in New York’s Coastal Management Program (CMP) on a voluntary basis by preparing and adopting a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), which provides more detailed implementation of the CMP through use of existing broad powers as zoning and site plan review.

Our waterfronts are tremendous assets,” said Little.

Well-planned stewardship of this natural resource can create a real ‘win-win’ by helping communities find the best balance of environmental protection with maximum economic opportunity. I’m really pleased working with Assemblyman Jones that we could get this legislation approved by the Legislature today and we look forward to Governor Cuomo’s support signing it into law,” she explained.

Municipalities surrounding the St. Regis River will be able to develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program as a community, with local lawmakers approving the planning document.

The comprehensive plan would outline the community’s vision for its waterfront area and provide the means to achieve their goals. State funding is available to help communities develop an LWRP, which helps plan for numerous grant opportunities to support a multitude of revitalization projects.

One example of similar riverfront-related revitalization elsewhere in the state is in the village of Malone. They are turning the west bank of the Salmon River—near a bridge that carries their Main Street over the river—into a public park. Malone is making use of a $175,000 grant that was obtained through the waterfront revitalization program. The revitalizing project has been in discussion for some 15 years, and is finally underway.

Photo of St. Regis Falls in Franklin County, New York is by P199 via Wikipedia.

See LWRP website.

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