OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWTI) – New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced the completion of a series of flood resiliency projects in the City of Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County on Friday, October 13.

The four projects were awarded more than $8.3 million in grant funding through New York State’s Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. These REDI-funded projects will help mitigate the impact of future high-water events and improve the resiliency of the shoreline.

These projects include the preservation and shoreline revitalization of Morrisette Park and City Dock, with amenities such as a tennis court and playground, as well as the resiliency enhancement and protection of the Municipal Marina and Pier near Dobisky Center, attracting boaters and fishing enthusiasts.

Assemblyman Scott Gray

The St. Lawrence River experienced record high water levels that resulted in devastating floods throughout communities along the river’s shoreline in 2019. These events degraded public infrastructure and restricted public use of popular tourist destinations like the Morrisette Park and the city’s public docks, negatively impacting public safety and local economies.

Here’s a breakdown of the projects:

  • Morrisette Park and City Dock, $4,875,000: Morrisette Park is a popular gathering place for residents and visitors, with a tennis court, wooden playground, and public parking. Flooding and repeated storm action severely eroded the park’s shoreline and damaged the existing seawall, threatening park infrastructure and the adjacent sanitary pump station. During flooding, the turnaround and parking area was inundated with water and deemed unsafe for use, forcing the closure of the playground. Resiliency measures implemented in the project consisted of installing fill and grading to elevate the park and nearby Caroline Street by two to three feet. Existing site features including stormwater structures, asphalt paths, concrete sidewalks, granite memorials, and site lighting were reconstructed or reset to accommodate the grade change. Nature-based sill shoreline protection was installed on the shoreline northeast of Morrisette Park to provide increased resiliency for the exposed higher portion of the riverbank from future high-water events and wave run-up. The nature-based sill consisted of placement of rip-rap stone at the water’s edge along with erosion control matting with integrated vegetation upslope from the rip-rap berm. The adjacent City Dock sheet pile wall was raised by two feet to protect Morrisette Park from future extreme flooding events. 
  • Municipal Marina and Pier close to Dobisky Center, $911,973: The Ogdensburg Municipal Marina, located on the St. Lawrence River, includes more than 70 boat slips, drawing recreational boaters and fishing enthusiasts to the city. Increased water levels led to structural impairment of the marina’s seawall, causing inundation of the marina and substantial undercutting of a stormwater outfall. Repeated flooding eroded the Municipal Marina shoreline, leaving the marina unprotected from high water and wave action. This resulted in unsafe conditions for users and the temporary closure of a portion of the park, which includes a heavily used gazebo and boardwalk located near the Dobisky Center. Completed work stabilized the river side of the Municipal Pier through the installation of driven steel sheet piles and cap, rip-rap shoreline protection on the southern shoreline of the Municipal Marina and elevating the existing Gazebo by approximately one foot.
  • Greenbelt Park, $530,000: Greenbelt Park is located near the confluence of the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence rivers. Approximately 680 linear feet of waterfront rip-rap revetment suffered deterioration due to frequent wave action. The lack of shoreline protection resulted in standing water over much of the green space, parking area, and park boat launch during high river levels. Flood mitigation measures consisted of rip-rap shoreline protection and extending the existing rip-rap revetment to protect the exposed higher portion of the riverbank from future high-water events and wave run-up.
  • Maple City Trail, $2,000,000: Maple City Trail is located on the banks of the Oswegatchie River, a major tributary to the St. Lawrence River. Flooding events caused undermining of the 100-year-old limestone block wall along the river, impacting the wall’s alignment and structural integrity. The degradation of the wall posed a public safety risk for trail users. The completed project increases the resiliency of the trail within the project area by reducing flooding potential, riverbank erosion, and property damage caused by high-water events. The project included a new precast concrete segmental block wall (1,200 linear feet) to replace the limestone/concrete wall. The top of the new wall has been set at an elevation of 252 feet (northern end), 253.5 feet (middle portion) and 255 feet (southern end, near dam) to protect the shoreline from river levels overtopping the wall during future flood events. The area behind the new wall was elevated and the existing damaged trail was rebuilt and landscaped.

Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns.