Troy’s seawall along the Hudson River will receive a much-needed upgrade. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer visited the Collar City today to announce that construction will begin soon.
Speaking at Troy’s Riverfront Park, Senator Schumer reflected on his last visit to the seawall in 2014.
“I promised that day to fight to bring the needed federal dollars to reconstruct the seawall. I’m glad to say we have succeeded,” said Schumer.
The seawall constructed in 1922 is the city’s first line of defense against flooding from the Hudson River.
“And as you can imagine the seawall has undergone tremendous wear and tear over the years. The last time it was repaired was 1978. That’s 40 years since we updated a key infrastructure,” said Schumer. “What’s happened since then? Increased ice flows, climate change, erosion, storms like Irene.”
In August 2011 during Tropical Storm Irene, Troy was one of several communities along the Hudson that experienced flooding. The Riverfront Park where officials gathered Monday was underwater.
Mayor Patrick Madden, like Schumer a Democrat, reminded those in attendance of another flood that affected the city years before Irene.
“Few people remember that it was only 15 years before that we had another flood. So that was two 100-year floods in the span of 15 years. That’s an indication of how our weather is changing and it would be short-sighted of us not to take the steps necessary to protect the city from these weather events in the future,” said Madden.
The city will receive more than $14 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make the improvements.
With construction to begin imminently, the project is expected to take two years to complete at a total cost of $24 million.
The City of Troy, known for its industrial past, is experiencing growth in its downtown and along the river.
Kevin Bette, president of lender First Columbia, explained that the riverfront is also being utilized by innovative companies of the 21st Century.
“The folks that design the data centers for Apple, for Facebook work out of the Hedley Building in Troy. We’re going to build a training center for the nation’s food supply, to secure the decontamination of our food supply, is all going to happen right here in Troy on the waterfront,” said Bette. “This wall is really important to this community.”
The City of Troy is currently finalizing a Comprehensive Plan, its first in more than 50 years. Included in the document is language to utilize the city’s riverfront – a goal of both city and county leaders.
Speaking to Senator Schumer, Republican Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin pitched his own idea for the next big project along the Hudson.
“It always struck me here, as a Rensselaer County resident, that how under-utilized this river was. But that’s going to change with this wall and as we try to connect it – and while you’re here, Senator, I’ll put in a pitch for a bike trail all the down to Rensselaer would be great. If we would make that happen and connect our areas, there’s some incredible potential here.”
On the river beside the gathering was Troy’s new fire boat, recently purchased with federal funds secured by Schumer. The Democrat also announced the passage of legislation in the Senate that would create a national cancer registry for firefighters. That bill now heads to the House.