SYRACUSE (WRVO) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it the largest public acquisition of land in central New York in more than 45 years. The state now owns 6,000 acres of land along and around the Salmon River, which is a major economic and tourism asset for Oswego County.
"It's a fishing mecca the Salmon River, and it got even better today with the additional land we are acquiring," Cuomo said. "That will mean more people can access the river."
Cuomo says the fishing industry in Oswego County is a $42 million business. Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner said the Salmon River attracts anglers from around the world.
"Oswego County is proud to be home of such national treasure and the state's acquisition of the additional land will help secure and protect this resource for Oswego County residents far into the future," Gardner said.
New York is getting 2,800 acres of that land for free. It's part of a 2005 consent decree reached with National Grid after the company allegedly violated the Clean Air Act. Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos says the other 3,000 acres were purchased from private land owners for $4.5 million.
"It's going to open up an enormous amount of recreational opportunity, hunting, upland fishing and things like logging which is very important to this area," Seggos said.
Seggos says state officials will hold public meetings soon for input on how to develop the land, like on trails.
Lake Ontario Flood Grants
While in Altmar, Cuomo also announced that the state will offer $5 million in small business grants for those affected by the Lake Ontario flooding. Beginning in June, small business owners can apply for up to $20,000 for lost or damaged property and assets. The grants are available for the counties under the governor's emergency declaration, including Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga, Wayne, Monroe, St. Lawrence, Niagara and Orleans counties.
The announcement comes as many businesses, like the Greene Point Marina and mobile home park in Sandy Creek, are under water from the historically high Lake Ontario levels.
State legislators are currently considering additional funding to help residents and small businesses recoup their losses from the flooding.