Photo: Flood Resiliency Ogdensburg
October 13, 2023

Governor Hochul Announces Completion of Series of Flood Resiliency Projects in City of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County

Governor Hochul Announces Completion of Series of Flood Resiliency Projects in City of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County
More than $8.3 Million to Stabilize Shoreline and Protect Flood-Prone Public Space Along the St. Lawrence River
Part of State’s $300 Million Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative

Photo of Ribbon Cutting Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of a series of flood resiliency projects in the City of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County. The four projects were awarded more than $8.3 million in grant funding through New York State's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. Now complete, these REDI-funded projects will help mitigate the impact of future high-water events and improve the resiliency of the shoreline.

"The completed REDI projects in the City of Ogdensburg protect public safety, build resiliency along the St. Lawrence River shoreline and create recreational opportunities for the community, checking off many of the top goals of this successful New York State initiative,” Governor Hochul said. “The completion of the city’s projects is a step forward in realizing the full potential of the Ogdensburg waterfront."

In 2019, the St. Lawrence River experienced record high water levels that resulted in devastating floods throughout communities along the river's shoreline. These events degraded public infrastructure and restricted public use of popular tourist destinations like the Morrisette Park and the city's public docks, negatively impacting public safety and local economies.

Today's announcement includes:

  • Morrisette Park and City Dock, $4,875,000: Morrisette Park is a popular gathering place for residents and visitors, with a tennis court, wooden playground, and public parking. Flooding and repeated storm action severely eroded the park's shoreline and damaged the existing seawall, threatening park infrastructure and the adjacent sanitary pump station. During flooding, the turnaround and parking area was inundated with water and deemed unsafe for use, forcing the closure of the playground. Resiliency measures implemented in the project consisted of installing fill and grading to elevate the park and nearby Caroline Street by two to three feet. Existing site features including stormwater structures, asphalt paths, concrete sidewalks, granite memorials, and site lighting were reconstructed or reset to accommodate the grade change. Nature-based sill shoreline protection was installed on the shoreline northeast of Morrisette Park to provide increased resiliency for the exposed higher portion of the riverbank from future high-water events and wave run-up. The nature-based sill consisted of placement of rip-rap stone at the water's edge along with erosion control matting with integrated vegetation upslope from the rip-rap berm. The adjacent City Dock sheet pile wall was raised by two feet to protect Morrisette Park from future extreme flooding events.
  • Municipal Marina and Pier close to Dobisky Center, $911,973: The Ogdensburg Municipal Marina, located on the St. Lawrence River, includes more than 70 boat slips, drawing recreational boaters and fishing enthusiasts to the city. Increased water levels led to structural impairment of the marina's seawall,causing inundation of the marina and substantial undercutting of a stormwater outfall. Repeated flooding eroded the Municipal Marina shoreline, leaving the marina unprotected from high water and wave action. This resulted in unsafe conditions for users and the temporary closure of a portion of the park, which includes a heavily used gazebo and boardwalk located near the Dobisky Center. Completed work stabilized the river side of the Municipal Pier through the installation of driven steel sheet piles and cap, rip-rap shoreline protection on the southern shoreline of the Municipal Marina and elevating the existing Gazebo by approximately one foot.
  • Greenbelt Park, $530,000: Greenbelt Park is located near the confluence of the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence rivers. Approximately 680 linear feet of waterfront rip-rap revetment suffered deterioration due to frequent wave action. The lack of shoreline protection resulted in standing water over much of the green space, parking area, and park boat launch during high river levels. Flood mitigation measures consisted of rip-rap shoreline protection and extending the existing rip-rap revetment to protect the exposed higher portion of the riverbank from future high-water events and wave run-up.
  • Maple City Trail, $2,000,000: Maple City Trail is located on the banks of the Oswegatchie River, a major tributary to the St. Lawrence River. Flooding events caused undermining of the 100-year-old limestone block wall along the river, impacting the wall’s alignment and structural integrity. The degradation of the wall posed a public safety risk for trail users. The completed project increases the resiliency of the trail within the project area by reducing flooding potential, riverbank erosion, and property damage caused by high-water events. The project included a new precast concrete segmental block wall (1,200 linear feet) to replace the limestone/concrete wall. The top of the new wall has been set at an elevation of 252 feet (northern end), 253.5 feet (middle portion) and 255 feet (southern end, near dam) to protect the shoreline from river levels overtopping the wall during future flood events. The area behind the new wall was elevated and the existing damaged trail was rebuilt and landscaped.

New York State Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Resilient infrastructure projects like this are a vital component of the Governor’s ongoing efforts to protect and improve Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline communities. This project will help mitigate the impacts of high-water events on the City of Ogdensburg in the future, while also enhancing the economy, the environment and the overall sustainability of the city and region. The project also complements the Department of State’s longstanding resiliency and revitalization efforts in Ogdensburg through our Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and the Brownfield Opportunity Area program.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “New York State’s REDI initiative continues its sustained record of progress protecting communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, ensuring critical infrastructure is ready to withstand severe storms and high water. The State’s strategic investments are providing shoreline communities like the City of Ogdensburg with the expertise and resources necessary to stabilize and protect the shoreline while enhancing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, thus promoting the economic vitality of this beautiful riverfront community.”

New York Power Authority President and CEO and St. Lawrence County REDI Commissioner Justin E. Driscoll said, “The projects completed today provide long term solutions that enhance economic development and the local ecosystem along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines. Through the establishment of the REDI commission, New York has worked with local governments, businesses and homeowners on projects to rebuild and fortify shoreline communities with the necessary infrastructure to combat extreme weather events.”

New York State Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “Today’s announcement by Governor Hochul speaks volumes about what we can accomplish when the state works with our local partners to sustainably rebuild and enhance recreational sites in flood-damaged communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Together, we are taking the necessary actions to enhance residents’ quality of life and give a boost to the region’s tourism economy.”

State Senator Mark Walczyk said, "The completion of these projects makes the front yard of America both resilient and beautiful. The restoration of waterfront spaces in the Maple City are wonderful for tourism in America's city on the St. Lawrence."

Assemblymember Scott Gray said, "The completion of the REDI projects in Ogdensburg marks a significant milestone for the city, with a total award of over $8.3 million. These projects include the preservation and shoreline revitalization of Morrisette Park and City Dock, with amenities such as a tennis court and playground, as well as the resiliency enhancement and protection of the Municipal Marina and Pier near Dobisky Center, attracting boaters and fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, the restoration of Greenbelt Park's waterfront rip-rap revetment and, lastly, the restoration of the Maple City Trail, which contributes to the city's natural beauty and recreational opportunities. The REDI commission and the city of Ogdensburg have made a significant investment to improve the city's waterfront areas.”

St. Lawrence County Chairman David Forsythe said, “I am extremely encouraged to see these important projects completed along the St. Lawrence River in the city of Ogdensburg. The Riverfront is the greatest asset the city has to offer. As a representative of District 2, which includes a portion of the City of Ogdensburg, as well as a business owner of 37 years in the city, the area in the city where these projects are located is some of the most beautiful property in the County. To see this project come to fruition and have them showcased with the help of New York State will certainly impact the recovery efforts being made by the city. We are grateful for the partnership with New York State and the continued focus to complete all REDI projects in St. Lawrence County.”

Ogdensburg Mayor Jeff Skelly said, "Work to improve the city waterfront and the crescent area of the Maple City Trail along the Oswegatchie River has been years in the making and involved coordination between multiple state, federal and local government officials and agencies. In particular, our own Ogdensburg Planning and Development Office, headed by Interim City Manager Andrea Smith, has worked tirelessly to bring this project to completion. Now that the project is done, city residents and visitors to our community will be able to better enjoy our unique waterfronts along both the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie Rivers. I want to thank everyone involved."

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.

Since the creation of the State's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 28 projects in the design phase, 39 projects in the construction phase, and 67 projects completed.

For additional information, project profiles, and REDI news, click here.