Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program

Thank you for your interest in Empire State Development’s Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program.

Please use this online form to be notified when the Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program is open for applications. If you are an applicant with a potential project, ESD strongly recommends completing the intake form in its entirety.  The valuable information you provide may be used to inform the Program’s design. 

Program Overview

ESD’s Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program will provide $30 million in grants of up to $200,000 to eligible applicants who experienced direct physical flood-related damage due to the high-water levels from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in 2019.  Eligible applicant types are expected to include small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, farms, homeowners’ associations and owners of rental properties.

Under the Program, grants may be available to reimburse up to 50% of an eligible applicant’s capital improvement project(s) that are designed to strengthen their business against impacts of future flooding and make their business more resilient in nature.  Each project must also receive matching support from a local government totaling at least 5% of state funds to be awarded under the Program. By way of example, a resiliency project that cost $100,000 may be eligible for up to $50,000 in state reimbursements, subject to at least $2,500 in matching local contributions which are expected to include, but not be limited to, certain tax exemptions offered by Industrial Development Authorities, local government waivers of the costs of ordinarily due permits and fees, and direct expenditures by local governments on project-related infrastructure.

Eligible projects are expected to be:

  • Located in the program’s coverage area: Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson or St. Lawrence Counties;
  • On property that sustained damage from high water levels between January 1, 2019 and September 30, 2019; and
  • Resilient in nature, meaning that they improve a business’s ability to withstand and quickly recover from extreme weather events such as flooding.

Examples of potentially eligible projects may include, but not be limited to:

  • Elevating or moving landward, non-water dependent buildings or features such as offices, restrooms, stores, restaurants, parking, or boat storage;
  • Elevating critical equipment such as electrical panels, heating and H-VAC systems or repairing damaged areas that are below grade with flood-proof materials; and
  • In the case of marinas and similar businesses, converting to floating docks or other docks that allow for movement with rising water levels.

Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Intake Form

For inquiries related to the Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program, please email [email protected]

For general inquiries about NYS assistance related to Lake Ontario high water, please email [email protected]