The New York State Department of State (DOS) announced today the start of construction of two flood resiliency projects awarded to the Village of Cape Vincent, Jefferson County through the State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI). Both residents and visitors to the Village of Cape Vincent depend on critical shoreline infrastructure for public recreation and access to the St. Lawrence River, especially from May through October.
During this time, the Village sees an increase in seasonal population, as visitors from across the state enjoy recreational boating and fishing opportunities. During the high-water events that took place in the summer of 2017 and again in 2019, critical infrastructure along the shoreline was damaged or underwater. The village of Cape Vincent was awarded $5,079,000 for a series of seven REDI projects. Two of these projects, the Real Street Seawall, and the Market Street Sewer, broke ground in 2021 and are currently under construction.
"The Department of State is committed to investing in projects to increase resiliency and prevent flooding in communities along the Lake Ontario waterfront," said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. "The REDI Program is a shining example of the progress that occurs when state and local government work collaboratively to tackle a common goal of making the waterfront more resilience to climate change. The construction and improvements of the Point Street Seawall, and the Esseltyne Public Docks will help to keep this popular destination safe and accessible and ensure that it remains a place of enjoyment for future generations."
The Esseltyne Public Dock is estimated to bring in at least 500 boats to the Village each summer, dramatically increasing revenue in the Village during the busy summer months, which many business owners depend on for their livelihood. During the flooding of 2017 and 2019, the entire dock system was inundated when water levels reached an elevation of 249.3 feet. These events left the wooden decking critically damaged.
To ensure that recreational boaters can continue to utilize the docks, a new floating system will be installed. This new dock will be more resilient to high water and storm events. The REDI Commission awarded $868,000 to complete this project.
The Point Street Seawall, located directly on the St. Lawrence River, also suffered damage during the flooding in 2017 and 2019. Flooding coupled with intense wave action caused the bedding stone, lawn and soils behind the Point Street seawall to wash out, leaving the terrain directly behind the failing seawall uneven. In addition, the Point Street roadway and the adjacent sidewalk were also inundated, saturating, and weakening the underlying subbase. This weakening has led to cracking and ruts in the sidewalk creating a public safety issue. The REDI Commission awarded the Village $65,000 to make repairs to the seawall, as well as to the roadway and adjacent sidewalk.
Flood mitigation measures to be undertaken in this project include repairing the Point Street and reconstructing the damaged roadway and sidewalk. The seawall will be repaired by filling in the exposed voids with flowable fill. Reconstruction of the Point Street roadway will include removing the existing asphalt and replacing the existing subbase with a coarse subbase that will allow water to pass through without weakening it. The roadway will be repaved with a binder and top layer of asphalt. Like the roadway repair, reconstruction of the sidewalk will include removal of the existing concrete and subbase and replacing it with concrete and a coarse subbase that will allow better drainage.
Senator Patty Ritchie said, “The St. Lawrence River and shoreline communities—like Cape Vincent—have endless potential for attracting tourists looking to experience the beauty of this special area. To tap into that potential, investments need to be made to rebuild in the wake of past flooding and protect against future high water. I am pleased to see work on a new floating dock system and repairs to the Point Street Seawall to begin and am confident both of these projects will help improve the Cape Vincent community for residents and visitors alike.”
Assemblyman Mark Walczyk said, “Even though the region hasn’t had to grapple recently with high water along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, making the critical investments to fortify our infrastructure is essential for our economy, public safety and the future of our community. The Point Street Seaway and Esseltyne Public Dock projects will ensure the Village of Cape Vincent’s infrastructure is rebuilt stronger and ready to withstand any possible high-water events in the future.”
Jefferson County Legislator D1 Robert Cantwell said, "On behalf of Jefferson County I would like to thank New York State and the REDI commission for their commitment to the Esseltyne Public Dock and Point Street Project in the Village of Cape Vincent. Both projects will contribute immensely to vitality of the Cape Vincent waterfront."
Cape Vincent Mayor Jerry Golden said, “The Cape Vincent community is excited that the Point Street Seawall and Esseltyne Dock REDI projects are underway and look forward to their completion. The planned improvements will make the shoreline more accessible for users even during times of high water, and the added features will greatly improve the amenities we can offer for boaters and pedestrians visiting the Village.”
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established 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. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million, to benefit communities and improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
For additional information, project profiles and REDI news, click here.