Waterfront property owners await state money for flood protection

Building walls on Lake Ontario

SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s believed this summer will again bring high water levels to the shores of Lake Ontario and the banks of the St. Lawrence River. That has private residents digging deep into the ground and into their own pockets.

Neighbors on Ontario Street in Sackets Harbor say they are prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars as they wait to see if they'll get state money - money set aside to protect their properties from high water.

"We're going to spend about $15,000 here to put up this seawall just to keep the land we already have," said David Powell, who lives on the lake. "The whole reason we are here is water. We always wanted to live on the water and we actually bought the property in 1975. We enjoy it but we have to protect it."

By April, Powell hopes to build a seawall, but it'll be on his dime. Powell applied for money the state has set aside four homeowners.

"We've heard nothing, so I'm going to pay for this out of my own pocket and hopefully I get some REDI money," he said.

Powell's not alone. Some neighbors and friends are dealing with similar situations just a few doors down.

"Even though we put a higher seawall in here, we've got a lot of sod. Sometimes the water splashes this far up," said David Murphy.

He knows the cost of high water repair all too well. He built a seawall for his property, now he's helping his daughter next door.

"We're having to spend a good amount of money to protect the land that's here by the lakeside," he said. "We're losing land, but other people are losing homes, they're losing businesses and it's affecting them when they cannot afford to remedy the situation. We're just fortunate that we can."

Soon, Murphy, Powell, and others who’ve applied will learn if they will receive part of the $20 million New York is spending to help private homeowners along the lake and river.

Those who have applied for assistance have an extension to complete the necessary paperwork. For primary residents, that deadline it’s February 28th. For secondary residents, it’s March 27th.

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