Council advances flood-control effort
KINGSTON >> The Common Council has authorized the city to borrow $50,000 to help fund the design and engineering work necessary for shoreline improvements along the Rondout Creek to help minimize flood damage in the Downtown area.
The borrowing, approved last week, will be added to $10,000 of in-kind services provided by the city. The $60,000 will match a New York Department of State grant the city received in 2014.
Brenna Robinson, director of the city’s Office of Economic and Community Development, told the council in a letter that Kingston had unsuccessfully applied in 2014 for $1 million in funding for a Waterfront Resiliency and Shoreline Improvements project. That funding would have been used for design and construction of shoreline improvements from beneath the U.S. Route 9W bridge, near the Sloop Clearwater’s winter home port, to just past the Cornell Steamboat building on East Strand, she said. Robinson said that while the city’s funding request was not approved, it was given a matching grant of $60,000 for the design and engineering of the project.
In 2015, then-Mayor Shayne Gallo was authorized by the council to spend the grant money, with the city’s match coming from private funding or additional grants. Robinson said, though, that the required $50,000 match to the grant was never set up. That’s why the council was asked now to borrow $50,000, she said.
Robinson said a request for proposals has been issued and that design and engineering consultants might be selected soon. She said no contract would be executed until the funding for the match was in place.
Megan Weiss-Rowe, the city’s director of communications and community engagement, said the request for proposals asks consultants and engineers to identify creative methods of addressing frequently excessive, and sometimes extreme, flooding caused by stormwater and storm surges along the Rondout Creek. The proposals should take into consideration conceptual design work already completed for the area, along with a larger project that is anticipated to be designed and constructed with future funding, she said.
“The city has applied through the 2016 NYS (New York state) Consolidated Funding Application process for this additional design, engineering and construction funds and will continue to do so through the next years’ funding rounds while also seeking other opportunities to complete this overall project,” Weiss-Rowe said in an email. “The ultimate plan is to have a walkway/promenade along the shore of the Rondout Creek with public access from East Strand and connecting rail trails from above the Trolley Museum to East Strand, out to the Kingston Point and to the lighthouse, where plans will include electric, water and sewer service to allow it to become the destination it should be.”