$1.6 Million Awarded to the Village of Wilson to Elevate Pier, Will Ensure Public Safety and Continued Recreational Use
Project Selected as Part of Former Governor Cuomo's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative
Former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of construction of a $1.6 million resiliency project, awarded to the Village of Wilson, Niagara County, through the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. The Townline Pier is a popular recreational site, frequented by Village residents and visitors to the community. The pier, used for fishing, launching kayaks, and public access to Lake Ontario, has suffered structural damage from increased wind and wave action, and rising lake levels. During record flooding that occurred in 2019, the pier was two feet underwater, making the structure inaccessible and posing a safety risk to watercraft users. The proposed project will mitigate safety hazards as well as ensure continued recreational accessibility.
"During the flooding that occurred in 2019, many popular tourist destinations along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River were inaccessible, negatively impacting regions that welcome visitors each year from across the state", Former Governor Cuomo said. "Through the REDI program, and through the state's partnership with these affected communities, we are working together to ensure that should future high water events occur, visitors will not be hindered from accessing and enjoying their favorite lake shore destinations, thus supporting the tourism economy that is vital to these municipalities."
"New York is committed to investing in projects to increase resiliency and prevent flooding in communities along the Lake Ontario waterfront," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Village of Wilson is a prime location for recreational use of Lake Ontario and today's start of construction at Townline Pier will help safeguard against the threat of rising waters and ensure that it remains a place of enjoyment for future generations."
Resiliency measures to be implemented in the project include:
- Raising the structure three feet to an elevation of 252', to allow the pier to remain easily accessible during high water events;
- Repair to the stairs allowing access to the pier from the shoreline;
- Mitigating further erosion through the addition of riprap along the shoreline;
- Construction of a public restroom; and
- Parking lot improvements.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's REDI initiative, we are helping Lake Ontario communities revitalize their waterfronts and strengthen resiliency against future flooding events as well as climate change. The improvements underway at Wilson's Townline Pier will help create a safer and more flood resilient condition, introduce new amenities and enhance accessibility for residents and visitors to this gateway to Lake Ontario. The Department of State is proud to work with the Village of Wilson and its elected officials on improving Townline Pier to help protect this important recreational asset and bolster the local economy."
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "Due to ongoing man-made climate change, there will be future episodes of high water at the Wilson pier. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's commitment to increase resiliency along the Lake Ontario shoreline, this pier will be better able to withstand these future challenges and remain open for safe public use in the years to come as part of the regional recreation economy."
REDI Co-Chair and Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "The new elevated pier in Wilson is part of the unprecedented effort Governor Cuomo is making to build back better in areas impacted by flood damage. The pier project capitalizes on the economic benefits of waterfront property by providing easy access to beautiful Lake Ontario for a wide variety of recreational activities for both residents and summer tourists."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "Communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines have faced serious challenges in recent years after repeated high water events. The start of construction on this project in the village of Wilson marks an important milestone in New York State's commitment to advance projects that help achieve REDI goals of building more resilient and sustainable communities. The Townline Pier project provides a long-term solution that will ensure vulnerable shoreline communities have reliable access to the pier during high water and the shoreline is protected from future flooding."
Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature Becky Wydysh said, "The REDI program has been key to getting several important projects along Niagara County's lakeshore moving forward to deal with the aftermaths of Lake Ontario flooding and the economic hardship it caused. The Townline Pier in the Village Wilson, which was once two feet under water, will now be protected, increasing public use and development opportunities. I thank state officials for their support of all of our REDI projects and want to thank my colleague Legislator Dave Godfrey and Village of Wilson Mayor Art Lawson for all their efforts in making the Townline Pier project happen."
Village Mayor Arthur Lawson said, "People across the region and many of our community residents have enjoyed the Townline Pier for many years. The unprecedented flooding that occurred in 2017 and again in 2019 completely submerged the Townline Pier creating many safety issues. By rebuilding and stabilizing this pier we not only are we rebuilding critical infrastructure but creating an attraction that is vital to rebuilding our tourist industry."
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, Former Governor Cuomo created 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. The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. The remaining $235 million has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.
At Former Governor Cuomo's direction, the REDI commission toured areas hard hit by flooding on Lake Ontario and worked with local communities to come up with a new vision for the shoreline from both a resiliency and economic development point of view in order to build back better and stronger for the future.
Since the creation of the Former Governor's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 133 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 100 projects in the design phase, 19 projects in the construction phase, and 14 projects completed.
Additional information, project profiles, and REDI news can be found here.