Assemblyman Dan Stec, Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas, Vinny McClelland and Scott McDonald address those in attendance at the first meeting of the Jay and Keene NY Rising Planning Committee Sept. 4.
The towns of Jay and Keene will be at the forefront of planning for their future thanks to a new state program.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined state Assemblyman Dan Stec, Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas and Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee in announcing the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee at the Jay Community Center Sept. 4.
“We are going to give these committees the ability to fashion a program that works for their community,” Cuomo said about NY Rising. “What the North Country needs is different then what Buffalo needs, which is different then what Long Island needs. We want to customize these plans to the local needs and ask the community to come up with a plan that helps them.”
The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program is designed to empower communities that suffered significant damage in recent storms to create and implement locally-oriented strategies to rebuild and better prepare for future extreme weather. The Towns of Jay and Keene are eligible to receive up to $3 million each to help prepare a comprehensive plan to guide their recovery and long-term rebuilding.
The State will also 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. In addition, a $3 million bonus will be awarded for best plans in several categories, including community involvement, use of technology in planning, and best regional collaboration.
“I have no doubt that these communities can set their minds to accomplish anything they want,” Cuomo said. “Its about the experience of coming together and having those conversations as a community.”
“This is a chance to look forward to what we can do if we are faced with a situation like Irene again,” Douglas said.
“A total reconstruction is not possible without all of us working together,” Ferebee said. “Through NY Rising, we can all be better prepared and I am confident that we will be able to accomplish this task.”
“Empowering our own communities to build their own path to recovery is what this program is about,” Stec said. “When we are finished, we will have a North Country that is stronger than ever.”
The Reconstruction Planning Committee will be co-chaired by Vinny McClelland of Keene and Scott McDonald of Jay.
“This has the potential to continue to unite the communities of Keene and Jay,” McClelland said. “We are going to be finding creative and collaborative solutions and we will be focused on a variety of challenges that will be coming in the future. This is a real opportunity to help our communities even more.”
“It is refreshing to have a state government that gives a voice to the local communities,” McDonald said. “Through this governor, we are being allowed the chance to state our own needs.”
Members of the committee include Marcy Neville, Tom Hickey, Tom Both, Joe Pete Wilson, Jr., Paul Johnson, Chad Garcia, Gerald Brow, Eric Carey, Michael Mascarenas, Corrie Miller and Jody Trautner Hart.