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Stopping the Surge

Posted at 6:05 PM, Jul 08, 2021

OLCOTT, N.Y. (WKBW) — In 2017 the communities of Olcott and Newfane mourned. With rising waters and a lack of federal assistance, they watched as homes, businesses, and local landmarks were submerged by rising waters.

It took the community two years to rebound. Then, the flood came back.

"It broke us, it was a really tough time for our community," said Tim Horanburg, the Newfane Town Supervisor.

After two floods, Horanburg said that he reached out to the state government for help.

NY Governor Cuomo answered the call, and included the towns of Olcott and Newfane on his Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, which is geared towards giving local communities stronger infrastructure to help protect them from future flooding.

The state government then provided about 18 million dollars for water-related protection projects. 14 million of that will go towards a massive resiliency dam that will protect the town's inner harbor and force high water levels back out to sea.

"It's long overdue, but the government has been good to us," said Horanburg.

Nonetheless, from both floods, the City Hall office of Newfane and Horanburg told WKBW News that they believe the damages to be around a million dollars. The areas are still recovering, but Horanburg says there is confidence growing in the community.

"It will bring back economic development ... tourism ... and will make people living close to the water feel safe," said Horanburg.

Construction has begun on the area near the waterfront with an end date slated for early January.