A nearly $4 million project to address persistent flooding along the Sauquoit Creek in the Mohawk Valley, especially Whitestown, will begin this month.

State officials announced details of the project on Friday, designed to address recurrent, severe flooding that has ravaged homes and businesses in the town of Whitestown and Village of Whitesboro.

The most recent flooding disaster came on Halloween in 2019, when some homes along the creek filled with feet of water. While the federal government included 18 counties in New York crushed by the October 2019 in its disaster declaration, efforts to receive federal FEMA dollars to repair the damage were unsuccessful - a denial of assistance then called 'a slap in the face' by Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

Ultimately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service partnered with the Town of Whitestown to offer up to $20 million to buyout the homes of residential property owners in flood prone areas.

The project takes a multi-pronged approach, including culverts, stabilization banks and landscaping that state officials say will create a 12-acre floodplain bench to hopefully protect homeowners for the devastation caused by flood waters to those living near the CSX Railroad bridge in Whitestown. It is being administered by the Town of Whitestown with financial support from the departments of Transportation, Environmental Conservation, Environmental Facilities Corporation, and the Dormitory Authority of New York State, officials said, and complements two floodplain benches constructed last year near Dunham Manor Park.

In a news release detailing the project, Whitestown Supervisor said, "The start of Project 2 of the Sauquoit Creek Channel & Floodplain Restoration Program is another important milestone in overall efforts and the culmination of state, county and local governments working together for a common cause. Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, flood mitigation in the Town of Whitestown has remained a major priority and the Sauquoit Creek Channel & Floodplain Restoration Program has been able to proceed with little interruption... We still have a lot of work to do, but the start of every project is one step closer to doing everything we can to become more resilient to severe weather events, reduce flooding and minimize future loss."

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