Gov. Dannel Malloy has announced a new loan program to make shoreline communities more resilient.
When Sandy's storm surge subsided on Fairfield Beach Road last year, some homes were swept away, others were badly damaged and a few lucky ones were unscathed. Many of the homes with little-to-no damage had all been raised in elevation, some after Tropical Storm Irene and others after the December 1992 nor'easter.
Raising a home off the ground is a costly endeavor. While federal grants and loans can cover the cost for some homeowners, income restrictions that preclude many shoreline homeowners from participating.
"We will be far better off every time we're able to raise the residences up above what is the new flood plain," Malloy said on Tuesday in New London.
On the one year anniversary of Sandy's landfall, Malloy, flanked by legislators who serve on the shoreline preservation task force, announced the creation of a new low-interest loan program known as the Shoreline Resiliency Fund.
Initially, $2 million in funding will come from the Department of Housing, and the governor is hoping $25 million more will be approved by the legislature when session begins.
"This is the beginning of a resiliency fund, state sponsored, to make us stronger and improve our ability to respond to these difficulties by, by and large, lifting ourselves out of harm's way," Malloy said.
The low-interest loans will also be available to homes and small businesses for "flood-proofing" measures that can help in the event of storm surge flooding.
Malloy announced the program behind Sweetie's Bakery and Cafe on Bank Street in New London, which was hit hard after Sandy partially knocked out power to the business for a week.
"We lost everything in all of our refrigerators and we had to turn away our catering because we couldn't use our equipment," said bakery co-owner Lindsay Kreutter.
While Sweetie's did not flood during Sandy, the business is located in a flood plain and would be eligible for a low-interest loan under Malloy's plan.
"Our landlord is out of state and it's something we'll be discussing with him as far as protecting us from the next big storm," Kreutter said