Series of Community-Based Design Forums Ensures Input and Engagement in Final Design Innovative Project will Protect Shore Communities and Enhance Waterfront Access – Visualizations Available Here Leverages State's Nearly $123 Million Investment in Oakwood Beach Voluntary Buyout Program
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $151 million state investment to build a multi-use elevated promenade to improve the resilience of Staten Island's east shore and enhance waterfront access for surrounding communities. The coastal resiliency project, a seven-mile long seawall stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach, will protect communities from severe coastal flooding, while creating new wetland habitats and recreational amenities, including a promenade, biking and walking pathways and easy access to public beaches.
"This innovative project takes into account the diverse needs of the affected communities, protecting against future devastating weather events, enhancing access to the shore, creating vibrant, thriving wetlands and bringing peace of mind to those living along the Staten Island coastline," Governor Cuomo said. "New York will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable communities are equipped with resources to protect against extreme weather while incorporating community input and building for future growth."
Throughout the process, the state has successfully urged the Army Corps to incorporate elements that enhance access to the waterfront and offer recreational amenities to the community. The seawall will be built up to 20 feet above sea level to protect against a storm at least the size of Sandy – the “300 year-level” storm, while incorporating wetlands and recreational options for a comprehensive coastal resiliency solution.
The multi-use promenade can support a range of recreational activities, including outdoor concerts, beer and food tastings, cultural festivals, nature walks, seaside carnivals, bike races, marathons and other running competitions, environmental education, and other events and community gatherings.
To ensure that the transformative project meets the unique needs of the community, the Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a series of interactive community-based design forums. The forums will allow interested members of the community to offer direct input into the final design of the seawall promenade and participate in the development of the project. New York will host a project website and keep the public closely informed through frequent updates.
Leveraging the state's previous investments in coastal resilience, the project also includes the construction of flood resilient wetlands in Oakwood Beach where the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery purchased more than 300 properties after Superstorm Sandy. The nearly $123 million voluntary buyout program serves as a national model for similar efforts.
A final design will be complete in the winter of 2018. Construction is slated to begin in 2019 and be completed in 2022.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo’s investment in coast resiliency is welcome news for Staten Islanders and a significant step forward in our efforts to rebuild after the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy. New York State’s $151 million commitment will ensure that this essential project becomes a reality.”
Staten Island is particularly vulnerable to flooding, and when Hurricane Sandy hit, the borough contained the highest percentage of New York City residents living within a floodplain. Flooding affected roughly 16 percent of the borough, or 75,651 residents. 2,499 Staten Island residential homes and businesses were damaged and FEMA assessed $269.16 million in Hurricane Sandy damage to Staten Island alone. Given the devastation to the Island, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to implement resiliency and recovery efforts on Staten Island.
Congressman Dan Donovan said, “Thank you to Governor Cuomo for allocating the State’s share to this incredibly important project. With the City and Federal funding already in place, this completes the last piece of the funding puzzle. I look forward to continuing to support the agency work at each level of government as we move forward through design into construction.”
Borough President James Oddo said, “Thank you to Governor Cuomo for working with us on this incredibly important project that will protect East Shore communities from future storms. Ultimately, our mission as elected officials to get things done for the communities we represent. It’s the approach I have taken my entire career, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and his team, as well as our federal and city partners, to bring this project to completion.”
Senator Andrew J. Lanza said, “On Staten Island, we know only too well the challenges of extreme weather and rising seas. Extreme weather continues to pose a tremendous threat to our shoreline, to our residents, and to our businesses. Today, Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are stepping up to protect Staten Island residents. Working with our local and federal partners, and engaging with the community at every step of the way, we are building a seawall and promenade that will transform and protect the Staten Island coast.”
Senator Diane J. Savino said, “Throughout his administration, Governor Cuomo has worked to empower communities across the state to participate in the development projects that affect them the most. By prioritizing the input of the affected Staten Island communities, Governor Cuomo is ensuring that this project best meets our needs and offers innovative solutions to protect coastal resiliency and bolster the vibrant potential of our shoreline. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to build a stronger, more resilient Staten Island.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick said, “Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State is ensuring that we are better prepared for future weather events that come our way. The Staten Island Seawall is a smart, innovative project that will make New York even more resilient in the face of future of challenges. And thanks to the continuous input of our residents, this project will improve our shoreline and bring new amenities even as it protects our homes and businesses. Today, we are investing in the future of our families and the future of our communities.”
Assemblyman Matthew J. Titone said, “Staten Island is at a unique disadvantage when it comes to severe weather but with Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented investment, we will be able to fortify and protect our residents and resources along the coast. Storms that had previously been considered once-in-a-lifetime now seem to be occurring every other year. This project will provide peace of mind to thousands of Staten Islanders and will preserve our home for generations to come.”