We are approaching the one year mark since Tropical Storm Irene caused historic devastation across eastern New York. On Thursday, senior officials in the Cuomo administration issued a report called "New York Response," which outlines repair work and recovery efforts since last August. YNN's Nick Reisman has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Nearly one year after two massive storms slammed into Upstate New York, top officials in the Cuomo administration say the area is recovering, but there's more work to do. Damage estimates have grown from $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
“The statewide response to Lee and Irene lasted over three months. In fact, the recovery still goes on and will go on for some period of time,” said Jerome Hauer, Commissioner of State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Response.
The state so far has spent $574 million in rebuilding the homes and businesses impacted by the storm, some of which will be repaid by the federal government. Among those hurt most was Prattsville in Schoharie County.
Hauer said, “This was really an unprecedented storm and it required an unprecedented response.”
State officials announced Thursday that more money would go to the affected areas. That includes $2.4 million for dam repairs and $145,000 in grants for area firefighters. The Cuomo administration also announced there would be an additional half million dollars in community block grants to aid homes and businesses in Prattsville. Businesses in some areas have returned, but some lag behind.
“Rebuilding isn't always the quickest process and some areas it happens more quickly than in others,” said Howard Glaser, State Director of Operations.
Howard Glaser, the Cuomo official who directed the state's response to the storms, says he's confident residents and business owners will stay in the area, despite last year's devastation.
“Sometimes there's a decision making process. You talk to the business owners and the home owners and they took some time to determine whether they want to invest the money and whether there was a plan to stay and I think there one at this point so I think you're going to see more individuals, more businesses, I'm committing, we're going to open our doors, especially with this state funding,” Glaser said.
The governor's office is clearly pleased with the response, releasing a 23 page glossy report highlighting all the aid, infrastructure and resources committed to the recovery effort.