OSWEGO — State Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, announced Tuesday a grant to support the town of Oswego’s public water district project.
The $200,000 in funding will help fund the first phase of a $4.8 million public water plan originally devised through a feasibility study approved by the municipality’s governing board in 2016, according to Oswego Town Supervisor Richard Kaulfuss. The first phase is scheduled to cost the town $2 million, and would extend a sewer line that goes through student housing development Lakeside Commons and into Fred Haynes Boulevard and county Route 89, aiding Rudy’s Lakeside Drive-In and Bev’s Dairy Treat with water management.
“This section of the town of Oswego is not only a popular draw for the local community, college students and visitors, but also an important part of its economy, as it supports a number of jobs,” Ritchie said in a release Tuesday. “A proper sewer system will allow these businesses to better operate, as well as serve to bring new businesses—along with much-needed employment opportunities—into the town.”
Aside from helping current longstanding businesses, Kaulfuss said the funding could be inviting to new businesses.
“This would allow us to share in some of the growth we are seeing in the city of Oswego and nearby communities,” Kaulfuss said. “It benefits the whole region when we all have something to offer for those visiting our area. Senator Ritchie clearly understands this and we cannot thank her enough for helping us ensure some of our biggest draws remain so and making sure our taxpayers are considered every step of the way.”
Oswego Town currently operates its water management system mostly through private septic tanks, which according to Kaulfuss have become difficult to maintain due to record-setting high Lake Ontario water levels experienced in the past three years.
Kaulfuss said the town’s public water district project will be optional for residents. Currently, the boundaries drawn for the project exclude residential properties, as the town supervisor noted he does not want to mandate residents to be a part of the public water district.
Kaulfuss also added the municipality will seek funding through the state’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI), a plan unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in late May, which focuses on the strengthening of Lake Ontario shoreline infrastructure and bolstering the economy of municipalities along the Great Lake.