Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $1,486,788 in federal funding for Ulster County to purchase flood-prone properties impacted by flooding resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. These funds, which are being awarded as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) will offset the remaining 25 percent of the cost for the project. Federal funds were previously awarded to cover 75 percent of the project, for which the total cost is $5,947,154. This funding will allow the county to purchase and repurpose 33 flood- prone properties, specifically within the Towns of Kingston, Olive, Shandaken, Ulster and Warwarsing, for the creation of open space. All of the structures located in the flood area were declared “substantially damaged” by local floodplain experts following the severe flooding and subsequent damage following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The funding was requested by the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Funds were previously awarded in January of 2013, in the amount of $4,460,366.
“It is not enough to simply rebuild and repair; we must also prepare ourselves for the next storm and the next potential flood. That’s exactly what this federal grant will do, helping to lower the risk of flood damage for Ulster County properties that are most in harm’s way,” said Senator Schumer. “These much-needed federal funds will help the county and the Towns of Kingston, Olive, Shandaken, Ulster and Warwarsing purchase and repurpose more than 30 flood-prone properties in the area for the creation of open space. Spending a penny today on flood-prevention efforts could save the federal government and Ulster County homeowners a dollar tomorrow in repair costs.”
“Flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee has devastated communities throughout Ulster County and left some homes and businesses beyond repair,” said Senator Gillibrand. “By purchasing severely flood-prone properties and turning those high-risk areas into open space, we can help protect the community from future flooding. This critical FEMA program helps us better prepare for the future and helps sustain our communities by preventing further devastation of homes and businesses.”
“We thank Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ulster County in our time of need following Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Super Storm Sandy,” said Mike Hein, Ulster County Executive. “When natural disasters were at their worst, they were at their best, and these dollars will help our community in its rebuilding efforts.”
FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding under Section 404 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that supplies aid to states and localities to implement long-term resiliency measures after a major disaster. The purpose of these grants is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.