Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

August 11, 2020

New York State Announces Completion of Phase 1 of Resiliency Project at Fair Haven Beach State Park

Project Funded Under Governor Cuomo's REDI Program Repairs Damage to Parking Area Caused by Lake Ontario Flood Waters

Phase II Will Include Dune Restoration, Interpretative Signage and New Boardwalk

Photos of the Completed Project are Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced completion of the first phase a new resiliency project at Fair Haven Beach State Park on Lake Ontario. The project, which is supported by the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative spearheaded by the Governor in the wake of flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, has restored parking capacity that had been damaged by high water and flooding twice within the past three years. Phase II of the resiliency and improvement project will soon begin and will restore dunes and construct a new boardwalk that includes educational and interpretive signage.

"We launched the REDI program not only to rebuild, but build back better and stronger after shoreline communities were devastated by two '100-year floods' within three years along Lake Ontario," Governor Cuomo said. "This is a necessary State investment that will help to protect New Yorkers' homes and businesses, as our work is repairing damage from the past while improving our resiliency against the inevitable flooding and extreme weather events of the future."

Repairs to the park's West Beach lot addressed damage from flooding in 2017 and 2019. The $2.5 million Phase I project:

  • Elevated the parking lot by approximately two feet to make it more resilient to future high water and provided enhancements for adjacent natural dune creation and habitat formation;
  • Installed an improved drainage system and repaved the parking area;
  • Replaced an existing water service during construction; and
  • Expanded the East Beach parking area, resulting in increased parking at the park, which is an important lake shore destination in Cayuga County.

Phase II will include a sand dune restoration and a boardwalk. Native beach grass will be planted in order to create dunes along the northern edge of the West Beach Parking. The beach grass will capture windblown sand to build and stabilize the dunes. A 275-foot boardwalk will also be constructed that will lead from the eastern edge of the parking lot, through the restored dunes and terminate near the West Beach bath houses. Interpretive signage will be installed along the boardwalk that explains and educates visitors on the ecology of the Lake Ontario shore. The improvements were supported by $1.2 million in REDI funds along with State Parks capital funding.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "This investment by Governor Cuomo reflects his strong commitment to Lake Ontario communities that thrive on the summer tourism industry. I'm grateful for the partnership with the Office of General Services and local leaders that has made this beloved destination on Lake Ontario more resilient to future episodes of high water, while enhancing the park's natural habitat."

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "The project at Fair Haven Beach State Park is a great example of what Governor Cuomo's REDI program is accomplishing throughout the region. We are repairing the damage caused by past flooding and also protecting the shorelines of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River communities against future high water levels. I am proud of what OGS and state Parks have achieved at this wonderful lakefront site."

Senator Pam Helming said, "This is an important project for the future of Cayuga County and our entire region. Fair Haven is a treasure that we all enjoy. Thousands of visitors annually from across our state and nation help grow our local economy, support our small businesses and sustain jobs. This project is an investment in our future and will ensure the success of the park for years to come. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo and my partners at every level of government to secure funding for critical infrastructure that moves our region forward.

Assemblymember Brian Manktelow said, "The completion of the first phase, the improvements to the parking lot, the new drainage system and the replacement of the old water service will certainly make the state park more user-friendly. It will also help to prevent future problems by raising the parking lot two feet; it will be less susceptible to flooding. The next phase, the sand dune restoration and construction of a boardwalk, will keep the area ecologically healthy by being a deterrent to further erosion. "

Jim Basile, Mayor of the Village of Fair Haven said, "The Village of Fair Haven continues to share in the success of the upgrades of the Fair Haven State Park under the REDI projects. Our local residence and businesses in the village recognize and understand that the relationship between the State Park and the Village of Fair Haven working together as one community contributes to the success of both."

Aileen McNabb-Coleman, Chairwoman of the Cayuga County Legislature said, "Fair Haven Beach State Park is very important to generations of Cayuga County resident who have enjoyed this beautiful place. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, the REDI work completed and work still to come will protect this park for years to come."

Steve Lynch, Director of Cayuga County Planning and Economic Development said, "Fair Haven State Park's enduring impact on the quality of life for state residents, couples with its significant contribution to the local and regional tourism economy is unmatched. The park improvements being announced today through Governor Cuomo's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative are securing the promise of lakeshore access and summer memories for generations to come."

In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, Governor Cuomo created the Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative (REDI) to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region.

Five REDI regions, comprised of eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns.

The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. The remaining $235 million has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.

Fair Haven Beach State Park features one of the finest public lakefronts in upstate New York, with towering shoreline bluffs, sandy beaches and adjoining hilly woodlands. The park has 1,500 feet of sandy beach including 600 feet of guarded swim area. Campgrounds and cabin areas lay within the park's gently rolling woodlands.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails and boat launches, which were visited by a record 77 million people in 2019. A recent university study found that spending by State Parks and its visitors supports $5 billion in output and sales, 54,000 private-sector jobs and more than $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. The free New York State Parks Explorer mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices. To download, visit: Google Play Store, NY State Parks Explorer App or Apple Store, NY State Parks Explorer App.