Projects Selected by Local Community Reconstruction Committees Will Establish Long Beach Office of Emergency Management, Make Utility Infrastructure More Resilient, Install Permanent Generators, Raise Vulnerable Roads and Enhance Drainage Systems
Eight Projects Are Among More Than $41.1 Million in NY Rising Community Reconstruction Projects Getting Underway This Fall
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $20.4 million in projects on Long Island are set to begin this fall to help flood-prone communities plan and prepare for extreme weather events as they continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The funding is part of more than $41.1 million in NY Rising Community Reconstruction projects slated to get underway across the state this fall.
"In the face of increasingly destructive weather, it's critical that we continue to protect New Yorkers by rebuilding and hardening our communities and infrastructure," Governor Cuomo said. "Selected by our local partners, these investments will help vulnerable Long Island communities upgrade their infrastructure to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws our way."
"We're providing the resources needed to ensure communities are prepared for future extreme weather events," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for projects on Long Island will help communities in the area plan for recovery efforts in the event of a natural disaster. We are investing to build back stronger and make sure our communities are prepared and New Yorkers are safe."
The eight projects announced today were identified by NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee members as priorities for their neighborhoods and are among hundreds across the state funded by the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo established the NYRCR program to empower residents and business owners in the recovery and resiliency process, believing that they know where their needs and vulnerabilities lie and can best recommend the projects that will protect their towns and villages and way of life. On Long Island, the NYRCR Program has designated more than $100 million to support the implementation of locally directed initiatives.
The projects announced today for Nassau County are:
Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements, Village of Freeport - $7,000,000: Freeport Electric, the largest municipal-owned utility on Long Island, serves more than 43,000 people. During Superstorm Sandy, the utility's infrastructure was damaged by untethered vessels and floating debris. The resulting outage disrupted power to 3,700 residential and commercial customers, three flood sirens, two fire houses, two sewer pump stations and two schools. The villages primary economic district, the Nautical Mile, lost power as well. The Freeport Channel Crossing Electrical Improvements Project will replace a cable beneath the Freeport Channel that carries the power serving one-quarter of village residents. This will make the overall infrastructure less susceptible to damage, protecting residents and businesses from future service disruptions while reducing risk of injury and fire due to downed electric lines. Construction began in late summer.
East Baldwin Road Raising, Town of Hempstead - $2,100,000: Development of the neighborhoods along the canals of East Baldwin began in the 1930s before the establishment of flood zones. In the years since, and especially after Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, the surrounding streets have experienced increased tidal flooding during monthly high tides, causing damage to property and vehicles, and disrupting services such as curbside garbage collection and mail delivery. To alleviate these issues, the East Baldwin Road Raising Project will raise local residential streets and institute a series of drainage improvements to reduce the risk of flooding to transportation infrastructure and houses. Construction began in late summer.
Establishment of an Office of Emergency Management, City of Long Beach - $1,790,000: Aiming to address a fundamental need for the City of Long Beach, this project will establish of an Office of Emergency Management in an existing space located at City Hall. This will allow Long Beach to coordinate preparations for and response to hazard events in coordination with the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management. Construction is expected to begin in November.
Permanent Generators for Critical Community Facilities, Town of Oyster Bay - $2,100,000: During the NYRCR Planning process, members of the Massapequa Committee voiced concerns over widespread loss of power during Superstorm Sandy. In response, the Permanent Generators for Critical Community Facilities Project will ensure that emergency shelters, community centers, and fire stations have backup power during and after major storm events. At strategically selected critical assets and evacuation sites, permanent generators will be installed to prevent flood damage during future disasters. This will allow continuity of emergency operations, as well as mitigate risks to populations by improving access to emergency information and resources. Construction began in September.
Path to the Park/Shoreline Improvements, South Valley Stream - $3,800,000: Since Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and 2012, the community of South Valley Stream has experienced frequent localized flooding. The Path to the Park Project will improve and restore the shoreline along a pedestrian greenway known as "The Path" as well as adjacent to Brook Road Park providing a combination of stream corridor restoration and riverbank stabilization through the introduction of a variety of natural elements, green infrastructure and hardened shorelines. These improvements will collectively help to mitigate future storm damage, reduce flooding, and improve the overall resiliency of the area. Construction is expected to begin this month.
The Suffolk County awards announced today are:
Main Firehouse Permanent Generator, Village of Amityville - $522,500: The Main Firehouse Permanent Generator Project will install a permanent emergency generator at the Amityville Fire Department. This will ensure that the department is well-equipped to operate during and after future storm events, even if widespread power outages affect the community. Construction on this project is expected to begin in October.
Greater Bay Shore Generators Resiliency Project, Bay Shore and Brightwaters - $2,660,000: During and after periods of extreme weather, the provision of a reliable and sufficient supply of electricity is critical to a community's ability to recover. The Greater Bay Shore Generators Resiliency Project will install generators at critical community facilities, including the Bay Shore Fire Department Headquarters, Brightwaters Village Hall, the YMCA, and the Town of Islip's 2nd Avenue Highway Yard. By ensuring that backup power is available at a range of facilities and assets, the project will increase the resiliency of the Greater Bay Shore communities. Construction on this project is expected to begin in November.
Rainbow Senior Center Permanent Generator, Lindenhurst - $522,500: During Superstorm Sandy, nearly all of the 1,600 homes south of Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst were swamped with up to five feet of water. Paired with extensive power outages and debris-littered streets, these conditions impeded immediate recovery efforts and made it difficult for residents to reach services or supplies. The installation of a permanent generator at the Rainbow Senior Center in Lindenhurst will provide backup emergency power for the local facility, enabling it to operate safely during and after storm events, and contributing to the resiliency of the community as a whole. Construction on this project is expected to begin in November.
Director of GOSR's NY Rising Community Reconstruction and Infrastructure Programs on Long Island, Jeanmarie Buffett said, "This collection of projects reflects the local needs and assets of communities across Long Island. It also embodies their overwhelming desire to apply lessons learned from recent storms and, in the process, to cultivate more sustainable communities that will benefit generations of New Yorkers to come."
Senator Phil Boyle said, "Over the years, through storm after storm, we have learned the vital importance of resiliency projects, especially in the flood prone areas. No one is more aware of this than the residents of the south shore of Long Island. Moving forward with this reconstruction program will protect us when the next major storm hits our communities. I thank the Governor for recognizing the critical need for these projects and providing the necessary funds to see them to fruition."
Senator John E. Brooks said, "During my first term in the State Senate, I have fought for my constituents and for Long Island to get its fair share of state aid. I am proud to have worked with Governor Cuomo to ensure more state resources were provided to Long Island communities, and I thank him for his commitment to Long Island. I will continue to work with Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in state and local government to give my constituents the state support and investment they deserve."
Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "In light of our ever-changing climate and the increased severity and frequency of storms that Long Island will face, this is an imperative and worthwhile investment in the resiliency of our South Shore communities. The idea behind each of these projects is to be more prepared for the next storm or flooding event before it happens, and that is simply governing by common sense. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer for their leadership in this important area."
Assemblymember Christine Pellegrino, "It's not if, it's when the next storm hits the South Shore of Long Island. The State has to do everything in our power to protect our homeowners and small businesses, who have already suffered enough in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The power outages were just as devastating as the storm itself. This grant of $2.1 million from GOSR's NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program will ensure that emergency shelters and fire stations in the Town of Oyster Bay, including Massapequa and Massapequa Park, have reliable power."
Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre said, "With these generators, our communities will have a greater peace of mind knowing that backup emergency power is available to assist in recovery efforts. I am thankful to Governor Cuomo for committing these vital funds to ensure that our residents are better situated the next time a storm strikes."
Assemblymember Andrew R. Garbarino said, "I'm happy to see these funds allocated to improve storm resiliency in our district. As we have seen in past, power outages can have a crippling effect on storm recovery operations. The Greater Bay Shore Generators Resiliency Project will provide important community facilities with generators, enabling them to stay operational during periods of extreme weather and power outages. This is an excellent use of our tax dollars."
Assemblymember Melissa Miller said, "Even years later, the effects of Superstorm Sandy are still impacting the 20th Assembly District. I am thrilled that the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery is providing nearly $2 million in funding to establish an Office of Emergency Management. Having this office on the barrier island will be a tremendous asset for the community and help lead in preparedness."
Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages said, "I am proud to have participated in the effort to enhance the storm resiliency of the Long Island region. I commend the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery for acknowledging the ongoing needs of our residents and for providing $3.8 million to South Valley Stream to help mitigate our recurring flooding issues. The recovery process is not over, but this project is a step forward in addressing the after-effects of Superstorm Sandy. We must continue our efforts to fortify the Long Island region from increasingly severe weather."
Assemblymember Brian Curran said, "I am so pleased that the state is investing more than $16.7 million to help our local communities plan and prepare for extreme weather. So many of our residents are still trying to put their lives back together from the effects of Superstorm Sandy, and we need to put measures in place to keep them from incurring further damage. Thank you to the governor and all involved in securing these finds for our residents."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "Governor Cuomo has been a true partner to Suffolk County when it comes to storm recovery. In the aftermath of Super Strom Sandy, New York State has worked tirelessly with the county to ensure we have the tools and the mechanisms in place to face the weather-related disasters that have been increasing in both frequency and intensity. The support for the three generator projects located along the flood-prone South Shore of Suffolk County in Lindenhurst, Amityville, and Bay Shore-Brightwaters are critical to the resiliency of each community, provided needed electrical support that will keep residents safe during extreme weather. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for coming through on his promise to help Suffolk weather any storms."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "Thank you Governor Cuomo for again hearing the concerns of our residents and protecting our communities. This $16.7 million New York State investment will help Nassau County's flood-prone communities prepare for extreme weather events."
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said, "These flood prevention and resiliency projects are blueprints for a brighter future as we deal with climate change. The installation of new vinyl bulkheads in South Valley Stream, along with critically important drainage improvements and road reconstructions in Baldwin will reduce the risk of flooding for homeowners. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for being a champion of resiliency on Long Island and in the Town of Hempstead."
Islip Town Supervisor Angie M. Carpenter said, "We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for this federally funded, state sponsored program, that should strengthen the Town's storm response efforts and make our residents safer."
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said, "Governor Cuomo has been an invaluable asset to the Town of Babylon's efforts to fend off severe weather events. This multi-million dollar investment is just the latest example of New York State supporting important resiliency projects. We thank Governor Cuomo, Senator John Brooks, Senator Phil Boyle and Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre for their leadership."
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said, "After the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy in the Town of Oyster Bay, and especially in the Massapequas, I am grateful to Governor's Office of Storm Recovery for helping secure the $2.1 million in grant funds for the Permanent Generators for Critical Community Facilities Project. This project ensures that emergency shelters, community centers, and fire stations have backup power during and after major storms. These generators will help our community become better prepared and make sure that emergency operations continue on despite any potential mass power outages."
Lindenhurst Mayor Michael Lavorata said, "Remembering that the Village of Lindenhurst was one of the hardest hit communities during Superstorm Sandy, we are grateful to receive these New York Rising grant funds to purchase and install a 150KW Generator to be installed at our Rainbow Senior Citizen Center. The backup power supply will help the Village provide a safe place for our residents and especially our elderly residents to go to in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Thank you Governor Cuomo for administering this program."
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said, "Through his commitment to assisting governments, to protect its population against storm damage, Governor Cuomo has helped Freeport to be more resilient, without increasing Village taxes. We are grateful for his continuous support and I thank him on behalf of all Freeport residents."
On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy stalled over Long Island, causing storm surges that in some instances measured 17 feet. According to FEMA estimates, the total cost of damages to the island's housing and critical infrastructure, coupled with the costs of debris removal, totaled $8 billion.
On Long Island, large swaths of land were flooded, homes were damaged or destroyed, heavy debris littered yards and blocked roadways, and compromised power lines impeded travel and interrupted power.
Altogether, more than 650 New Yorkers served on 66 NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committees across the State, including 22 on Long Island, and have together proposed hundreds of projects inspired by the unique needs and assets of their regions. Collectively, NYRCR committees have held 650 planning meetings and 250 large-scale public engagement events as they have worked to rebuild more sustainable communities, reinforce infrastructure, mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters, and spur revitalization.
Established in June 2013, GOSR coordinates Statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Through its NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program — as well as its NY Rising Housing Recovery, Small Business, Infrastructure and Rebuild by Design programs — GOSR invests $4.5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding to better prepare New York for extreme weather events. More information about GOSR and its programs is available online at http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/.