Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $33 million in grants and low-costs loans have been awarded for seven water projects in the North Country.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held this week for the construction of a $4.8 million drinking water system for the Town of Hounsfield and a $9.5 million wastewater treatment plant for the Village of Cape Vincent. The state funding awarded today also includes a $1,995,000 Green Innovation grant to the Village of Gouverneur that was approved by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. The grant will be used in a $3.564 million project proposed by the Village of Gouverneur to eliminate sewage overflows into the Oswegatchie River.
"These grants and low-cost loans will help jumpstart important water and pollution control projects in the North Country," Governor Cuomo said. "By providing funding to rebuild the state's infrastructure, we are creating jobs across New York while giving our towns and villages the support they need to make improvements for their residents."
The $29 million in grants and low-cost loans from the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) will support the following water projects in the North Country:
Cape Vincent: $9.5 million wastewater treatment plant;
Hounsfield: $4.8 million drinking water system;
Inlet: $4.1 million wastewater treatment plant and collection system;
LeRay: $7.7 million water system now under construction received a $2 million grant from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and a $5.7 million, interest-free loan from EFC;
Gouverneur: A nearly-$2 million Green Innovation Grant will be part of an estimated $3.56 million in improvements to correct combined sewer overflows (The proposed project qualifies for subsidized financing through EFC); and
Village of Clayton: $3.7 million in no-interest financing from EFC for $4.3 million upgrade to the village sewer system.
"By providing grants and affordable financing to these communities, New York State is helping the North Country improve water quality, protect the environment and expand opportunities for economic development throughout the region," said EFC President and CEO Matthew Driscoll. Driscoll attended the groundbreakings this week in Cape Vincent and Hounsfield.
U.S. Representative Bill Owens said, "This funding is critical as we work to improve the region's aging infrastructure. Updating and enhancing the ways North Country residents receive basic services is one of the first steps to attracting new businesses that will hire locally and put the unemployed back to work."
Senator Betty Little said, "This is a wonderful state and local partnership. These types of projects are very important for the environment but often have price tags too big for our local governments. I'm thrilled to see EFC come through with the financial support needed for the Town of Inlet. Certainly infrastructure improvements like this complement Governor Andrew Cuomo's goal of job creation while improving our long-term economic competiveness."
Senator Patty Ritchie said, "I applaud the Governor's commitment to growth here in the North Country. Projects such as these not only make our communities better places to live, but they also create much needed jobs that will help revitalize our area economically."
Assembly Member Teresa Sayward said, "Wastewater infrastructure is especially critical for communities in the Adirondack Park. I congratulate the Governor and EFC for recognizing the financial need of the community in order to make this project a reality."
Assembly Member Addie J. Russell said, "This is great news for the North Country. The crucial $9.5 million wastewater treatment plant project in Cape Vincent is expected to bring 25 to 30 new jobs to our community at a time they are most needed. Not only does this measure help get our hardworking families back to work with good-paying jobs, but it also ensures the long term benefit of clean water and future development capacity."
Assembly Member Ken Blankenbush said, "Water system infrastructure, although not as glamorous as building projects, are essential for areas to grow business, to meet their demands and provide quality water to local residents. The Governor's Regional Economic Development Council has helped kick-start these projects."
Tony Collins, Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, said, "These grants and loans will help repair vital infrastructure in North Country communities, creating jobs and making our towns and villages a better place to live. Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils have helped get long-overdue projects off the ground now. We look forward to the next round of competitive awards so critical projects like these can begin as soon as possible."
Garry Douglas Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, said, "The Governor has made job creation and economic growth his top priorities, and the Regional Councils have changed the game by creating economic development plans on the community level as opposed to top-down from Albany. The grants and low cost loans announced by the Governor today will help important repairs get done in North Country communities and benefit the entire region."
In Cape Vincent, the present wastewater collection system is taking in too much water, causing sewage overflows. EFC is providing Cape Vincent with a $2 million grant (through debt forgiveness) and a $5,588,000 loan at zero-percent interest to build a new treatment plant with greater capacity. Approximately 7,400 linear feet of new sewer mains and other improvements will also be installed.
The Cape Vincent project is expected to be completed in Fall 2013 and will create 25 to 30 jobs during construction.
Cape Vincent Mayor Tim Maloney said "This important project is the result of years of hard work and cooperation from our Village staff and Engineers, right down the line with the regulatory and funding agencies which could not have been accomplished without the steadfast support of our Federal, State and Local Representatives. Our infrastructure is the foundation on which our future can build and for Cape Vincent, the future looks much brighter."
The new drinking water distribution system designed for Water District #5 in the Town of Hounsfield will be financed with a $2 million grant and $2.8 million in interest-free financing from EFC. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2013 and will create 15 jobs during construction.
Hounsfield Supervisor Tim Scee said, "Thanks to the commitment of Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation to the North Country, we are about to provide much needed public water to our residents. This is the town's fifth water district and the fourth project funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program. The DWSRF grant assistance received by the town is almost $7 million since 1999. This project will complete the missing piece in the larger regional water system, providing an interconnected emergency water supply. It also provides a potential for future investments around Watertown International Airport and Industrial Park, bringing additional jobs to our community."
The $9 million wastewater treatment plant recently completed in Sackets Harbor was made possible with a $2.75 million grant from EFC, along with $2.175 million in no-interest financing. Roughly 23 jobs were created on the project which was presented with several awards, including the Environmental Project of the Year by the New York Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The Village will conduct an open house of the new treatment plant on May 22.
The Village of Clayton is receiving $3.7 million in no-interest financing from EFC for a $4.3 million upgrade to the village sewer system. The new system will support the development of the new Clayton Harbor Hotel, which is part of the strategic plan created last year by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.
Also in the North Country, EFC is also providing grants totaling $1,734,000 to the Town of Inlet to construct a $4.1 million wastewater treatment plant and new sewage collection system. The project was put in jeopardy last year when construction bids came in far above the anticipated figures. Twenty construction and other full-time jobs, along with 40 part-time jobs, will be created once the Inlet project begins later this year.
The Bernier Carr Group in Watertown is providing engineering, planning and other services on behalf of Cape Vincent, Hounsfield, Gouverneur, Inlet, LeRay and Sackets Harbor.
Kris Dimmick P.E., PWLF, Vice President of Municipal Engineering, Bernier, Carr & Associates, said, "Since 1990 New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation has been instrumental in assisting our clients with funding through the Clean Water and Drinking Water revolving loan fund to provide communities with essential services to more than 10,000 homes since its inception. Without their commitment through design and construction many projects would not come to fruition and communities would struggle to provide necessary infrastructure to improve quality of life. During tough economic times, Governor Cuomo's commitment to these projects not only protect our rivers and lakes but will provide technical and construction related jobs in the North Country."
On May 3rd, Governor Cuomo announced that up to $750 million in state funding and tax incentives will be awarded through the second round of Regional Economic Development Councils to support economic development, strategic plan implementation and job creation across the state. The second Regional Council competition will focus on the implementation of each region's strategic plan and identifying and investing in locally significant priority projects.