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Governor Cuomo Designates 102 New York Rising Communities Eligible to Receive More Than $750 Million for Storm Reconstruction

Hosts Statewide Storm Recovery Conference with HUD Secretary Donovan to Kick Off Program.

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Albany, NY - July 18, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today 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. 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 [2].

James S. (Jamie) Rubin to Lead New York Rising Communities Program
The Governor announced he will appoint Jamie Rubin as the Director of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program. Mr. Rubin is currently Senior Advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and New York State Director of the President’s Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Rebuilding Task Force. He was previously a Non Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, working with cities including Buffalo and Detroit to identify and implement innovative economic development strategies. Until May 2012, he was a Senior Partner with BC Partners, a global private equity fund managing over $17 billion across two current funds. He joined BCP in May 2008 to establish the firm’s first US office and subsequently built a team and directed over $1 billion of direct investment in the U.S. by BCP. Before then, Mr. Rubin was a Partner with One Equity Partners, JP Morgan’s private equity fund, where he was one of the founding partners in 2001. He graduated from Harvard College (1985) and Yale Law School (1993).

Jamie Rubin said, “Communities throughout New York State have been devastated by major storm after major storm over the past two years. Today’s conference organized by Governor Cuomo will better enable localities to take the rebuilding process into their own hands based on what works best for their communities, and come back stronger, safer, and smarter. I am pleased to serve as Director of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction program and join with the Governor on helping rebuild our state."

Jon Kaiman to Lead Long Island Storm Reconstruction
The Governor also announced the appointment of Jon Kaiman, North Hempstead Town Supervisor, as Special Advisor for Long Island Storm Recovery. Jon Kaiman has served as Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead since 2004. As Town Supervisor, Mr. Kaiman has been responsible for implementing a number of innovative programs including the first suburban 311 Constituent-Response System that fast-tracks public complaints, speeds up service to constituents and helps optimize the workforce. Mr. Kaiman is responsible for several environmental-friendly programs including North Hempstead's Townwide School Recycling Program, S.T.O.P. (Stop Throwing Out Pollutants/Pharmaceutical Collection Event), Operation Clean Sweep, and North Hempstead’s Earth Day Program, including EcoFest. He led North Hempstead to green its vehicle fleet by purchasing hybrid and electric vehicles vehicles for the town.

As Special Advisor for Long Island Storm Recovery, he will serve as the liaison for the Governor to Sandy-affected residents, businesses, and communities. A particular focus of the Special Advisor will be to coordinate state support for the New York Rising Communities on Long Island.

Jon Kaiman said, "I am pleased to serve as Special Advisor for Long Island Storm Recovery and work with Governor Cuomo and our local officials in ensuring the successful implementation of New York Rising Communities on Long Island. Superstorm Sandy was one of the worst storms to ever hit our region, and we must now focus our efforts on building back stronger and smarter than ever before. Today’s conference brings together some of the brightest minds in fields relating to storm recovery and redevelopment, and the Governor’s reconstruction program includes important resources needed to construct stronger communities on Long Island. I look forward to working closely with local officials and residents of communities that were hit by the storm to rebuild and strengthen our towns and villages for the future."

Web-Based Portal & Facebook Pages to Facilitate Community Planning.
The Governor also announced that the State will facilitate the New York Rising Communities’ planning process by helping each community’s planning committee set up a Facebook page devoted to the process, holding webinars to support such use of technology to promote public comment and planning collaboration, and creating a portal for planning committee members to interact and comment on documents and issues throughout the planning process. Community participation and efficient use of technology in the planning process are critical elements of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program.

NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program Funding Allocation:

    Long Island Communities
    Eligible up to
    Upstate Communities
    Eligible up to
    NYC Communities
    Eligible up to
    Barnum Island
    Staten Island
    Harbor Isle
    Johnson City
    Belle Harbor
    Island Park
    Breezy Point
    Baldwin Harbor
    Far Rockaway
    Bay Park
    East Rockaway
    Brighton Beach
    City of Amsterdam
    Coney Island
    Lido Beach
    Town of Amsterdam
    Manhattan Beach
    Point Lookout
    Atlantic Beach
    Town of Nichols
    New Howard Beach
    East Atlantic Beach
    Village of Nichols
    Old Howard Beach
    Town of Owego
    Gerritsen Beach
    Mastic Beach
    Village of Owego
    Sheepshead Bay
    Broad Channel
    South Valley Stream
    Red Hook
    Fire Island
    Town of New Paltz
    Lower Manhattan
    Oak Beach-Captree
    Village of New Paltz
    Long Beach
    West Islip
    East Massapequa
    Town of Saugerties
    Massapequa Park
    Village of Saugerties
    Town of Esperance
    Village of Esperance
    West Babylon
    Hewlett Harbor
    Hewlett Neck
    Stony Point
    Niagara County
    Herkimer County
    Oneida County
    Madison County
    Montgomery County


Senator Betty Little said, “Here in the North Country, families and businesses are still recovering from the destruction caused by Hurricane Irene. From the day the storm hit and continuing today, Governor Cuomo has been there for us. He and his staff have been diligent, tireless partners making sure that not only will we rebuild everything we lost, but we will reconstruct our communities even better. The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program provides the support and the means to do that, while empowering the most important stakeholders – local residents, elected officials and community leaders who know their communities best– to develop their own long-term recovery plans. I appreciate and thank the Governor for his leadership in creating this program so important to this ongoing recovery effort.”

Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, "Within the last two years, New Yorkers have endured the worst that Mother Nature has dished out. Between Tropical Storm Lee, Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy, Winter Storm Nemo and the most recent, nameless, unrelenting rainstorms of June-July in the Mohawk Valley, we've been stretched to the limits of natural disaster recovery, relief and rebuilding. I commend the Governor for inviting HUD Secretary Donovan to participate in this conference. Our goal should be to take what we learn about the challenges to planning long-term aid and turn it into a multi-faceted strategy that'll help us face damaging natural events in the future."

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “On behalf of the residents of the Southern Tier, I want to thank the Governor for making the rebuilding of our communities after Lee and Irene a priority of the state. Oftentimes these efforts are lost after the initial response is complete. After experiencing firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change, we appreciate having an ally in Albany who is committed to providing the assistance we need. The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will help provide us with the necessary tools to build back our communities and better prepare them for future severe weather events.”

Assemblyman James Skoufis said, “I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his unrelenting dedication to the citizens of the Hudson Valley. He has been a true leader in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and with his guidance, we will be able to rebuild our communities stronger than ever from the ground up.”

Assemblyman John McDonald said, “Governor Cuomo’s support for impacted communities around the state has been constant throughout the recovery process from Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy. His leadership has been strong before and after the storms, and he has made every effort to place the needs of New Yorkers first. Not only has he fought for federal recovery money, he also secured state aid for localities to help struggling homeowners and businesses get back on their feet quickly all across New York.”

Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages said, “The effects of recent natural disasters show that we must put in the time, effort, and resources to better protect our fellow New Yorkers. Today’s conference is an example of state and local government doing just that – coming together to identify best practices for preparing for the next major storm, and rebuilding in a way that leads to stronger, more resilient localities. I applaud Governor Cuomo for making this a top priority and I am confident that together we can build a safer New York State.”

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said, “Combating natural disasters amid the changing global climate is not an easy task, but the New York Rising Storm Recovery Conference is an important step forward. While there is little telling of where or when the next major storm will hit, we can apply the lesson learned today and from our past experiences to build communities that are more equipped to protect residents and businesses, and build a better New York State overall. I commend Governor Cuomo for organizing today’s conference to tackle the issue head-on.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “Under the Governor’s leadership, the recovery of our communities here on Long Island after Sandy has been given the focus we need by the state and federal governments. With the start of the Governor’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction program, we can begin developing a plan that helps us rebuild smarter than before so that we are ready for any future weather events. I thank Governor Cuomo for ensuring that our needs are being addressed and help is still on the way.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, “I applaud and thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and partnership in rebuilding communities in Oneida County and the Mohawk Valley that have been impacted by storms from the last few years, and most recently the last few weeks. By funding locally driven recovery plans, the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will allow communities to implement reconstruction based on their own needs and resources. This means localities will have individualized plans that will more effectively protect them in the future.”

Vincent Bono, Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature, said, “Through rising floodwaters and torrential downpours, New York State has come together during these hard times. Under the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, Herkimer County can begin the rebuilding process by developing a plan that works for the community from the bottom up. The Governor has proved to us that we are not alone in this endeavor—that we have the State of New York and all of its citizens behind us. I thank the Governor for his commitment to the Mohawk Valley.”

John Becker, Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors, said, “After the destruction caused by the recent flooding in our area, the Governor successfully fought to ensure we would receive Federal recovery money as well as additional state funds to cover the rest that we need. By including our region in the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, we can benefit from this assistance to rebuild and strengthen our affected communities so they can withstand extreme weather conditions in coming years. On behalf of the County, I thank Governor Cuomo for his partnership and support during these difficult times.”

John Thayer, Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, said, "Montgomery County has experienced significant damage and disruption from extreme weather events in the last few years. While those storms were traumatic and had devastating impacts on many people, they also brought out the very best in New Yorkers. We are a state that has a strong community belief—that the issues affecting our neighbors affect us all. Today’s conference on storm recovery methods is a testament to the spirit of helping our neighbors, and I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo for showing such leadership on the issue by partnering with local and county government to make today possible.”

Town of Middletown Supervisor Marjorie Miller said, “Governor Cuomo has shown a real dedication to the people of New York, especially when it comes to leading recovery efforts for the citizens who need it the most. These storms have left a huge mark on our lives – physically, financially, and emotionally – and Governor Cuomo understands this. With this community reconstruction program, he is giving localities essential resources to rebuild and improve our resiliency for the future.”

Town of Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee said, “Governor Cuomo’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will ensure that all of the communities devastated by these recent storms will be able to rebuild as effectively and efficiently as possible from the bottom up. With input from experts on a variety of topics at today’s conference, localities will start to create plans that address the specific problems that they face and make the most efficient use of the public and private resources available. The Governor has been there for Keene time after time and on behalf of our town, we thank him.”

Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, “The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program is an innovative approach to rebuilding Long Island’s communities that were severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy. This program focuses on developing plans from the ground up because we know best what our community needs to be better prepared for the future. I thank Governor Cuomo for his continual support as we all work together to make New York stronger.”

Town of Minden Supervisor Tom Quackenbush said, “The Town of Minden is grateful for Governor Cuomo’s support and help following the devastation left by the recent flooding here in the Mohawk Valley. With the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program and an addition $3.25 billion in public and private funds, we can better protect our homes, businesses and infrastructure for the future. Not only will our region rebuild, but we will come back better and stronger.”

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine said, “Superstorm Sandy caused unprecedented loss and damage here on Long Island and we are still working hard to rebuild. The New York Rising Community Reconstruction program will pull from public and private funds to assist the development of local plans and ensure that all storm impacted communities including Suffolk County are safer from future storms and natural disasters. I commend the Governor for leading this effort to empower our communities as we continue on the path to a full recovery.”

Town of New Paltz Supervisor Susan Zimet said, “From the beginning, Governor Cuomo has had unwavering support for the residents of the storm-ravaged areas of our region. He has fought as an advocate for our citizens as he successfully brought back millions in relief money from Washington. This program is a good start as we all work together to build back stronger than ever. I thank the Governor and his team for making sure that New York is truly rising once again.”

Town of Union Supervisor Rose Sotak said, “Today’s meeting between state and local officials and private sector experts is a positive step forward for New York’s storm hit communities. The Governor’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will tackle the damage of past storms head-on and also focus on rebuilding communities to be more secure. The next time a storm rolls in, I am confident we will be better prepared than ever before.”

City of Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said, “Having experienced the consequences of storms Sandy, Irene, and Lee, it is clear that New York needs a smart reconstruction program that includes efforts to address flood impacts and ways to mitigate future storm damage. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program will strengthen New York’s communities by empowering them to develop their own plans. This is the kind of forward thinking we need in today’s changing climate.”

Village of Owego Mayor Kevin Millar, said, “Here in Owego, we have been working diligently to recover from the vast damage caused by the storms from the last few years. While we will never be completely safe from these kinds of events, thanks to Governor Cuomo, our recovery and rebuilding efforts in New York are off to a strong start with this program so that we are better prepared for the future. I commend him for his swift actions to help the people of our community.”

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said, “Governor Cuomo’s New York Rising Storm Recovery Conference is an example of the many ways that state and local actors are working alongside one another to build safer communities that are better prepared for the next major storm. While we cannot always predict natural disasters, we can take preemptive action to address our vulnerabilities and learn from past experiences. By examining previous recovery efforts and and best practices, Governor Cuomo is laying the groundwork to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers in the event of the next big storm.”

Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association, said, “With the launch of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, the Governor is recognizing that every area of the state faces unique challenges on the road to recovery. Here on Long Island, we look forward to getting to work with the assistance provided through this initiative so that we can put Superstorm Sandy firmly behind us and start building for the future. We thank the Governor for providing us with the funds and flexibility we need to fully recover.”

Theresa Regnante, President and CEO at United Way of Long Island, said, “As we continue our work to rebuild communities across Long Island, it is encouraging to see Governor Cuomo leading the recovery effort so forcefully. With the launch of this program and an addition $3.75 billion in funds available to our communities to assist in rebuilding, we have a great opportunity to develop individually tailored plans which will work to target problems specific to our region. I applaud the Governor for his support during these months after Superstorm Sandy.”