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City of Oswego to use federal funding to pay for flooding repairs at Breitbeck Park

By Eric Reinhardt


OSWEGO, N.Y. — Breitbeck Park in Oswego will use more than $1.8 million in federal funding to repair damages following Lake Ontario flooding this year and in 2017.

The money will pay for efforts to restore Breitbeck Park and its shoreline, which have been “severely damaged” by flooding that occurred on Lake Ontario in 2017 and 2019.

The federal funds are administered through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) announced in a Friday news release.

“The flooding of Lake Ontario in 2017 and again this year has devastated shoreline communities and recreational spaces such as Breitbeck Park and the regional economy right alongside it,” Schumer said. “This funding is a critical investment that will help the City of Oswego restore Breitbeck Park and its shoreline, improve its resiliency to future extreme weather events and ensure the lakeshore economy continues to thrive.”

The shoreline of Lake Ontario was declared a major disaster in 2017 after extreme flooding caused severe damage in the spring and summer of that year, making communities like Oswego eligible for FEMA assistance, per the release.

This is the first installment of funding for Oswego as a result of the 2017 disaster declaration, with millions more in funding from FEMA scheduled for next year. Extreme flooding has again plagued the Lake Ontario shoreline in 2019 and the senators have urged FEMA to stand ready to declare a major disaster again once damage is fully assessed.

“This funding will allow the City of Oswego to repair some of the damage caused by the high waters and flooding along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. The flooding has had devastating effects on our environment, infrastructure and local economy and this funding could not have come at a better time. The City of Oswego will utilize these funds quickly to fix some of the damage and try to restore our waterfront property back to the valuable natural asset it should be,” Oswego Mayor William Barlow Jr. said in the release.

FEMA provided this funding through its public assistance (PA) grant program, which provides grants to government organizations and private nonprofit organizations after an official major-disaster declaration. The purpose of PA is to help communities recover from and respond to disasters and emergencies quickly. The PA is authorized under section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the senators said.

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