With Lake Ontario’s waters rising, this $2.67 million project will boost the resilience of a New York state park, and a town’s economy

The groundbreaking of a new project to improve flood resilience at Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park in Monroe County, New York took place on August 19, 2020.

The $2.67 million project—which is part of the New York Governor’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative—will repair damage from flooding in 2017 and 2019, and raise the boat launch, docks and parking lot so they can continue to operate during times of high water.

As the effects of global climate change become more and more prevalent here at home, it’s essential that we invest in resilient communities near Lake Ontario and throughout the state,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “This project will bolster Irondequoit’s ability to withstand increasingly frequent high waters, helping New York’s first responders during emergencies on the lake and incentivizing recreational boaters who make critical contributions to the regional economy.

In addition to elevating the parking area and boat launch, the project will consist of additional transient docks, a playground, an American with Disabilities Act-accessible fishing pier, and a recreational pavilion.

REDI Co-Chair and Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “The beauty and bounty of Lake Ontario attracts visitors from across the globe, while its surrounding communities rely on the economic support generated by fishing and tourism. By restoring and rebuilding places like the Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park to withstand future flooding events, we are helping shoreline communities that depend on the Lake build back stronger and smarter than ever before.

Irondequoit Bay is about five miles northeast of Rochester and empties into Lake Ontario. The 44-acre Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park is on the northwest shoreline adjacent to Culver Road and Sea Breeze Drive. During the last decade, there have been more than 400,000 visitors to the park, which is operated and maintained by the town of Irondequoit.

Waterfront communities along Lake Ontario have faced tremendous challenges in recent years, but New York State is leading the way to help them build back better, smarter and more resilient,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Irondequoit Bay is a prime location for recreational boating in the Greater Rochester area and today’s groundbreaking at Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park will safeguard against the threat of rising waters and ensure that it remains a place of enjoyment for future generations.

The Town of Irondequoit is also breaking ground on a nearby project to improve storm drainage sewers along Culver Road, which is the gateway to the Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park and several key businesses. This $500,000 investment is designed to mitigate flooding in the roadway and reduce the potential for a road closure during high water events, which is essential to keep open for emergency services and access to local establishments in the area.

This project will help mitigate the devastating impacts of flooding by modifying the existing storm drains along Culver Road, installing new check valves and creating permanent connections for temporary water pumps, as necessary. In addition to these measures, the project aims to direct floodwaters away from homes in the area to prevent flooding of residential households.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “As a lifelong Irondequoit resident, I saw firsthand the impact that the flooding events of 2017 and 2019 had on our shoreline residents, businesses and first responders. This investment will greatly improve access to Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, which play an important role in our local economy and our entire community. I join my partners in government in thanking Governor Cuomo and the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative for his commitment to restoring and improving Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park and for listening to the needs of our residents, businesses and first responders.

Governor Cuomo launched the REDI program in May 2019 year after record-setting high waters hit Lake Ontario in 2017 and 2019, causing significant damage along shoreline infrastructure. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million to rebuild the shoreline, as well as improve resiliency in flood-prone regions along the lake with projects identified by REDI Commission Regional Planning Committees.

Irondequoit Town Supervisor David Seeley concluded, “Like its history, Irondequoit’s future will be defined by our natural landscape and our ability to develop this unique asset for the benefit of our residents, our businesses, and our entire community. I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Congressman Morelle and our state delegation for recognizing the transformative potential of this project to integrate infrastructure, commercial development and recreation opportunities. This strategic investment of $2.67 million will pay dividends for years to come, and I look forward to our continued partnership to improve the lives of every family who calls Irondequoit home.

Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Cuomo.

See Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative website.

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