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Cuomo pledges $2.5 million to mitigate flooding in Oneida County

Tom Magnarelli
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Whitesboro on Tuesday.

Heavy rains wreaked havoc on Oneida County about a month ago causing flash floods, power outages and destroying some homes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited one area on Tuesday to announce funding that may help prevent flooding in the future.

Standing in front of the Sauquoit Creek in Whitesboro on a hot, sunny day, Cuomo described it as beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. But the creek, like other areas of the county, including Utica, were heavily flooded about a month ago.

“A creek like that, in an extreme weather situation can well up, and become a monster that literally takes lives, I’ve seen it all across the state,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the state will spend $2.5 million to deepen and widen the creek for about a mile in length.

“So that the next time we have a heavy downpour, the creek, rather than rising up, will actually collect the water and hold the water for the period of the weather event and stop it from flooding businesses and homes,” Cuomo said. "Creeks can actually become a productive, constructive vehicle as opposed to a dangerous situation."

Cuomo said the state is making adjustments to what he calls the new reality of extreme weather that keeps occurring.

"There have been weather events that have been historic and they have happened over and over and over again," Cuomo said. "I can't tell you how many times they've said to me, this is a once in 100-year event, except it happens every six months."

He also pledged funding for additional training for first responders.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.