Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Tuesday that $1.7 million in federal funding will go toward buying and demolishing severely flood-damaged buildings and properties in the village of Sidney, officials said.
In the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, many buildings and properties in Delaware County, and particularly Sidney, were damaged beyond repair, the release said. It doesn't make sense to rebuild because the area is a flood hazard zone where there is consistent severe flooding, the release said. Demolishing the structures was the preferred plan of Delaware County.
John Redente, a village of Sidney trustee, said the village has been waiting for this funding for some time. The Federal Emergency Management Agency allocates the federal money to the county, which will buy out the property and turn it into “green space,” he said.
“This is something we've been planning and wanting to do for a long time,” Redente said.
“Green space,” Redente said, means the pieces of land will be "recycled" and turned into well-kept, park-like parcels of open space, where building will be prohibited. The village is hoping, specifically, to turn the land into an “edible walking trail,” he said.
Sidney's mayor, Andy Matviak, said he is very excited to hear the news.
“This is a really positive step toward helping us reduce the impact of future flooding,” Matviak said. “Our residents have been waiting for more than two years to get this funding and it is very promising for them and the entire village. I want to thank Sen. Gillibrand and Sen. Schumer for working very hard to secure this funding.”
Matviak said the village wants to relocate residents who qualify for the buyouts.
“We'd like to keep them in the village,” he said, “but we are looking into building a community outside the village where they can be transplanted.”