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Homes along Lake Ontario battling erosion problem; Calling on State to fund retaining wall: Your Stories

Damaged homes, uprooted trees and ruined properties are just a few of the problems neighbors in the Town of Sterling say they're experiencing due to lakeshore erosion.
Sterling (WSYR-TV) - Damaged homes, uprooted trees and ruined properties are just a few of the problems neighbors in the Town of Sterling say they're experiencing due to lakeshore erosion.

Homeowner Steve Imburgia has created a petition calling on the county and state to help save the lakeshore homes by providing funding to build a retaining wall to protect their homes at Moon Beach Estates.

“Each year I’ve been here there have been three or four homes that had to be torn down and a couple actually went into the water,” said Jim Gallagher, a seasonal resident for 23 years.

Gallagher says he's watched a foot of his property vanish each year since he moved to his home and has created his own retaining wall for a problem neighbors say has gotten worse in just the past two years.

“A whole house down the road went into the water and their front foundation, their concrete went in. Then part of the house went in and then the rest of the house collapsed,” said seasonal resident Carol Harmon.

“It’s really frustrating paying taxes on land that's in water. That's a big issue and it’s not just the metal. It’s septic tanks, it’s a lot of dangerous things and when you're walking along the beach or have kids in the water you’re on your constant guard,” said Jim’s wife Marcia Gallagher.

Cayuga County is hoping to put in a drainage system behind the homes and create a way to protect water quality.

“We are going to try and stabilize their slope and get a better grade to the slope and try to stabilize it with vegetation and hard armory,” said Doug Kierst, Executive Director of the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The only problem is the lack of public funding and grants. Homeowners would also have to foot part of the bill.

“You want a legacy to give to your kids, but the kids are even getting sad thinking this will have to be knocked down someday,” Marcia said.

“We're trying to do the best we can to save our property but eventually we'll have to move across the street and get away from the shoreline,” said Jim.

Cayuga County is in the process of applying for state funding in addition to grants it has already received to curb the erosion problem.

Homeowners have also started a petition to receive disaster relief funds from the state.

NewsChannel 9 has reached out to Governor Cuomo's Office, but has not yet heard back.

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