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Crews finish first part of resiliency project at Fair Haven Beach State Park

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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The state has finished the first part of a “resiliency” project at Fair Haven State Park in Cayuga County on Lake Ontario is finished. Repairs to the park’s West Beach lot addressed damage from flooding in 2017 and 2019, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. (Photo credit: NY State Parks flickr)

STERLING, N.Y. — Crews have completed the first phase of a new “resiliency” project at Fair Haven Beach State Park in Cayuga County on Lake Ontario.

The project is supported by the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI), the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The program follows recent flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River and has restored parking capacity that had been damaged by high water and flooding twice within the past three years.

Phase II of the resiliency and improvement project will soon begin and will restore dunes and construct a new boardwalk that includes educational and interpretive signage.

“We launched the REDI program not only to rebuild but build back better and stronger after shoreline communities were devastated by two ‘100-year floods’ within three years along Lake Ontario,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This is a necessary State investment that will help to protect New Yorkers’ homes and businesses, as our work is repairing damage from the past while improving our resiliency against the inevitable flooding and extreme weather events of the future.”

Repairs to the park’s West Beach lot addressed damage from flooding in 2017 and 2019. The project’s $2.5 million first phase elevated the parking lot by about two feet to make it “more resilient” to future high water and provided enhancements for adjacent natural dune creation and habitat formation.

The project also installed an improved drainage system and repaved the parking area; replaced an existing water service during construction; and expanded the East Beach parking area, resulting in increased parking at the Fair Haven Beach State Park, which is an important lake shore destination in Cayuga County.

The improvements were supported by $1.2 million in REDI funds along with State Parks capital funding.

“The village of Fair Haven continues to share in the success of the upgrades of the Fair Haven State Park under the REDI projects. Our local residences and businesses in the village recognize and understand that the relationship between the state park and the Village of Fair Haven working together as one community contributes to the success of both,” Jim Basile, mayor of the Village of Fair Haven, said.

The project’s second phase will include a sand-dune restoration and a boardwalk. Crews will also plant native beach grass in order to create dunes along the northern edge of the West Beach parking. The beach grass will capture windblown sand to “build and stabilize” the dunes.

Crews will also construct a 275-foot boardwalk that will lead from the eastern edge of the parking lot, through the restored dunes and end near the West Beach bath houses. Interpretive signage will be installed along the boardwalk that “explains and educates” visitors on the ecology of the Lake Ontario shore.

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