(WBNG Binghamton) New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday launched the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, an initiative designed by the State following the natural disasters over the past two years that will empower communities hit hard by the storms to create and implement locally-created and federally funded strategies for rebuilding and strengthening their communities against future extreme weather.
According to a news release:
The Governor was joined in Albany by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force as well as more than two hundred community officials and planners, to kick off the program officially at a conference entitled “Building Back Better: New York State Storm Recovery Conference.”
“The NY Rising Community Reconstruction program will empower localities to develop and implement recovery plans after the damage done by the devastating natural disasters to hit our state over the past two years," Governor Cuomo said. "This program recognizes that New York’s effort to build back better must be a two pronged approach with the state not only leading critical infrastructure and broad investment strategies but also providing localities the resources they need to invest in their own future. When we are done, we will have risen to the challenge of making our great state not only more resistant to future storms, but stronger, more prosperous, and more prepared for years to come.”
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said, “The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will empower communities to develop bold plans that will help make New York stronger, more economically competitive and better able to withstand future storms. Governor Cuomo’s innovative plan aligns with the Task Force’s community-wide approach to rebuilding that considers individual projects as part of a unified effort to protect families and small businesses for generations to come.”
The New York Rising Community Reconstruction program will assist 102 severely damaged New York Rising Communities to develop comprehensive and innovative rebuilding plans. The plans will be driven by the needs of each community and developed by regional planning committees of community leaders, experts, and officials. Grant amounts will be based on FEMA assessed damage levels as well as applications for new infrastructure and other mitigation, and will be awarded once the community’s plan is complete and submitted to the State for approval. The communities will be eligible to share in more than $500 million of funding made available through the federal supplemental appropriation the Governor worked with Congress to obtain earlier this year.
Today, experts from around the nation on topics such as economic development, resiliency, urban sustainability, environmental impact, and engineering discussed innovative strategies, solutions, and lessons learned from past disaster recovery efforts with citizens and leaders of the New York Rising Communities to launch the rebuilding process. These discussions will help to frame and inspire cutting edge solutions, projects, and ideas for community planning committees to develop in the coming months. This conference is the first step in the planning process, which will take eight months or less for each New York Rising Community.
In addition, the Governor announced that the State will award at least $250 million of the State’s FEMA-funded Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to New York Rising Communities to implement eligible projects contained in their plans. After a Presidential disaster declaration, as in the case of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstorm Sandy, FEMA provides HMGP funds for states to administer grant programs that support local hazard mitigation planning and long-term hazard mitigation measures to reduce the loss of life and damage to improved property from natural disasters. Eligible projects may include, among other things, infrastructure or building improvements to protect communities from future natural disasters. For more information, see http://nysandyhelp.ny.gov/content/