A new $2.67 million project designed to boost flood resiliency at Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park in upstate New York is relying in part on storm drain system improvements being made by the New York State Department of Transportation.

[Above photo courtesy of New York State DOT.]

The project – part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative – aims to repair damage from flooding in 2017 and 2019, plus raise the boat launch, docks and parking lot so they can continue to operate during times of high water. In addition to elevating the parking area and boat launch, the project will consist of additional transient docks, a playground, an American with Disabilities Act-accessible fishing pier, and a recreational pavilion.

“This project will bolster Irondequoit’s ability to withstand increasingly frequent high waters, helping New York’s first responders during emergencies on the lake and incentivizing recreational boaters who make critical contributions to the regional economy,” explained Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) in a statement.

But to provide long-term resiliency for those marine park improvements, the Town of Irondequoit – in partnership with the the NYSDOT – is breaking ground on a project to improve storm drainage sewers as part of an upgrade to Culver Road, which serves as the transportation “gateway” to Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park. NYSDOT is providing the know-how and part of the storm drain project’s $500,000 funding to mitigate roadway flooding while reducing the need for road closures during high water events as keeping the road open is vital for maintaining access to local businesses and emergency services in the area.

The storm drain project also involves installing new check valves and creating permanent connections for temporary water pumps, as necessary, as well as re-direct floodwaters away from homes in the area to prevent flooding of residential households, NYSDOT noted.

“Through our work as part of Governor Cuomo’s REDI [Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative] Commission, [we are] ensuring the safety of residents and businesses along the southern shores of Lake Ontario, one community at a time, while also increasing resiliency and building back better with every project,” noted Marie Therese Dominguez, NYSDOT commissioner.

“This project to improve storm drainage will help mitigate future flooding and promote sustainability so that the Town of Irondequoit, with its beaches, marinas, and breathtaking views, continues to be a wonderful summer destination for thousands to enjoy every year,” she added. Governor Cuomo’s office noted that New York’s 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches generate critical economic activity for the state. His office said all four combined were visited by a record 77 million people in 2019, with a recent university study indicating that spending by state parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state gross domestic product.