Southern Tier Gets Grants For Superstorm Sandy Recovery

04.24.14 | Sarah Harnisch

A group of municipalities from the Southern Tier was among eight to win $3 million in additional storm-recovery aid at a state conference Wednesday near the Capitol.

Local governments in Broome and Tioga counties, as well as the Village of Sidney in Delaware County, will share one of eight $3 million grants.

The aid was awarded Wednesday as part of a forum hosted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tout the state’s program for distributing its share of $60 billion in federal disaster aid, which was approved by Congress after Superstorm Sandy hit in late 2012.

“If you are really going to rebuild communities, you can’t do it from Albany, you can’t do it from Washington,” Cuomo said at the conference. “You have to do it community by community across the state, because in truth, every community is different.”

Last year, Cuomo launched a program for municipalities to apply for about $600 million in federal grant funding to help rebuild from Sandy and tropical storms Irene and Lee, which hit parts of the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley in 2011.

To be eligible, a local government or group of local governments had to put together a plan detailing what they would plan to use the money on and how they would work with nearby communities.

In addition, a panel of state officials could distribute $3 million grants to plans deemed the best in eight categories. Cuomo announced those awards Wednesday, with the Southern Tier municipalities taking home the award for “best regional collaboration.”

Vince Pasquale, a former Broome County legislator who co-chaired the committee that prepared the Southern Tier plan, called the funding “critical.”

“These communities have worked together over the past seven months to identify projects that will not only improve critical infrastructure and facilities, but will make the Southern Tier more resilient to the impacts of future storm events,” Pasquale said in a statement.

Other plans that received additional aid Wednesday included those submitted by Staten Island and the towns of Jay and Keene in the North Country.

Gurran Kane, co-chair for the Stony Point Community Reconstruction Program Committee, spoke at the conference and said Stony Point was “overwhelmed” from the storm surges after Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

The village of Stony Point in Rockland County was allocated up to $3 million for 11 projects proposed in its community reconstruction plan. The plans include developing short and long-term emergency shelters and upgrades to critical infrastructure.

One of the proposed projects includes repairs to the Stony Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, which incurred about $1 million in damages after the storms, according to Kane.

“The Stony Point planning committee looked to arm this plant with things like waterproof pumps and water-resistant mechanicals to ensure continued operation,” Kane said.