Governor Hochul Announces Construction Start of $4 Million Resiliency Projects in Town of Sterling,

Long Island Construction Law does not own this content. This content was created by Governor Hochul’s Office and was published on February 25th, 2022. To view the full press release, please click here. 

Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction of two resiliency projects, totaling more than $4 million in grant funding, awarded to Cayuga County through New York State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI).

The Sterling Nature Center, located on the south shore of Lake Ontario, encompasses over 1,400 acres of land and features observation decks, an existing Interpretive Building, more than nine miles of trails, and a variety of ecosystems. The first project, a new interpretative building, that was awarded $3.2 million by the REDI Commission, will provide enhanced climate resiliency, improve tourism, and promote environmental education at the Sterling Nature Center.

“Climate change is a reality we cannot afford to ignore, and New York is tackling the challenge head-on through the REDI program, by supporting affected Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline communities through strategic infrastructure projects,” Governor Hochul said. “These projects will increase the flood resiliency of the region, supporting tourism, promoting economic development, and in the case of the Sterling Nature Center projects, increasing climate awareness and educational opportunities.”

Once complete, the new Sterling Nature Center and Resiliency Educational Building will:

  • Reduce operational and maintenance costs at the site by utilizing green technology and sustainable practices;
  • Improve tourism offerings in the region by improving services and expanding programming and event opportunities; and
  • Inform and educate the public by providing a facility with sufficient space for education exhibits and programming related to green infrastructure, lakeshore protection, and climate resiliency.

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Record high Lake Ontario water levels and extreme rainfall events have damaged or destroyed trails along the shoreline of the Sterling Nature Center. In 2019, high Lake Ontario water levels and rain events destroyed a section of Old McIntyre Road, a park trail that is the only access point for emergency responders to this section of the shoreline. The second REDI project was awarded $804,500 in grant funding to address stormwater issues that have degraded trails and negatively impacted visitor experience, as well as repair the damaged section of Old McIntyre Road to ensure continued access for emergency responders.

  • Mitigation measures to be implemented for this project include:
  • Green infrastructure, including a parking area, sidewalks, rain gardens, and wetlands;
  • Educational exhibits and programming related to green infrastructure;
  • Repairing and rerouting approximately four miles of hiking trails, including Dogwood, Lakeview, Heron, Bluff, Buttonbush, and Lake Trail; and
  • Restoring the damaged section of Old McIntyre Rd.

New York State Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Under the leadership of Governor Hochul, we are helping Lake Ontario communities revitalize their waterfronts and strengthen resiliency against future flooding events as well as climate change.  These new projects in the Town of Sterling will help improve the popular Sterling Nature Center by investing in green and sustainable infrastructure and increasing both educational and tourism opportunities for all who live and visit this idyllic attraction. The Department of State is proud to work with Cayuga County and our agency partners through the REDI program to bolster this community resource and protect it for future generations.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner and REDI Commission Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “New York State is leading the nation in actions and investments to combat climate change and protect our communities from climate-fueled severe storms and flooding. The State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative is bolstering efforts in Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shoreline communities to build back better from prior storms and prepare for future flood events. The projects announced today in the town of Sterling will repair areas degraded by repeated high-water events and help educate visitors about climate change and what all of us can do to advance a cleaner, greener future.”

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The Department of Transportation has been and will continue to collaborate with our local and state REDI partners to help restore and enhance the Sterling Nature Center and Resiliency Educational Building from the damage sustained due to flooding on Lake Ontario. This project will ensure that community members and all those visiting Lake Ontario can truly experience and enjoy everything the Town of Sterling and Cayuga County have to offer.”

 New York State Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette M. Moy said, “The Sterling Nature Center draws a significant number of visitors each year, making it a major contributor to local tourism and a prime location to experience and enjoy the beauty of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. I applaud Governor Hochul’s commitment and the county’s support for improving access and protecting this site against flooding so that future generations can safely enjoy this Cayuga County treasure.”

State Senator Pamela Helming said, “Sterling Nature Center is a truly spectacular gem in Cayuga County and the Finger Lakes where our natural resources and diverse habitats are celebrated and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. These projects will expand educational, recreational, and tourism opportunities while protecting the environment, water, and infrastructure essential to the vibrancy and safety of our communities. Thank you to Cayuga County, Town of Sterling, New York State, and the REDI Commission for their work on these projects.”

Assemblyman Brian Manktelow said, “With Springtime and Summer right around the corner, the groundbreaking of the new Sterling Nature Center could not have come at a better time. This new facility will provide a better experience for visitors and encourage people to take advantage of the wonders at Sterling Nature Center and mother nature. The investment in the green infrastructure, the cost of to repair the trails and the roads, coupled with a new facility to better inform residents and students, will be returned in the wellbeing of our friends, families and neighbors. “

Cayuga County Chairperson David Gould said, “On behalf of myself and all of the Cayuga County Legislatures, I wish to congratulate all that were involved in bringing the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative to fruition. I would like to thank the REDI Commission of New York State and our County Legislators for the funding that was needed to proceed with this much-needed Initiative. Cayuga County and the Friends of the Sterling Nature Center have invested over $1,000,000 in this project, helping to support this important project to ensure this environmentally and culturally significant resource endures for generations. This is a great example of the State and the local Governments working together for the citizens of New York and Cayuga County.”

Town of Sterling Supervisor Scott Crawford said, “I am happy to see this project get underway and look forward to its completion. The Sterling Nature Center is a wonderful place and both the trail work and the newly built education center will help to broaden their ability to serve visitors. “

In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, New York State established REDI to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns. Through REDI, the State has committed up to $300 million, to benefit communities and improve resiliency in flood prone regions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Since the creation of the State’s REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 134 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 80 projects in the design phase, 19 projects in the construction phase, and 35 projects completed.

For additional information, project profiles and REDI news, click here.

John Caravella Esq., is a construction attorney and formerly practicing project architect at The Law Office of John Caravella, P.C., representing architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and owners in all phases of contract preparation, litigation, and arbitration across New York and Florida. He also serves as an arbitrator to the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Panel. Mr. Caravella can be reached by email: or (631) 608-1346.

Long Island Construction Law does not own this content. This content was created by Governor Hochul’s Office and was published on February 25th, 2022. To view the full press release, please click here. 

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