Schumer Calls for Town of North Hempstead, Ravaged by Sandy, to Receive Fed Funding to Rebuild Town Public Dock, Bulkheads and Seawalls
North Hempstead, NY - April 16, 2014 - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched his effort to ensure that the federal government does not leave out North Shore Long Island communities, like North Hempstead, in funding Sandy rebuilding and resiliency efforts. The Town of North Hempstead has a number of critical recovery projects in the works, including rebuilding the town dock in Port Washington, repairing a number of critical bulkheads and seawalls, and completing sand removal, that have yet to be funded over 18 months after the storm. Specifically, Schumer called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to prioritize and expedite consideration of several major projects throughout the Town of North Hempstead that will help protect Nassau County’s North Shore communities in the event of a future storm. Schumer today said that many projects along the South Shore have been the focus of post-Sandy efforts and while those are critically important, hard-hit communities like the Town of North Hempstead cannot be forgotten. Schumer pointed to specific projects along Long Island Sound bays that the feds should swiftly support. Schumer was joined by Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth.
“More than a year and a half after Sandy, we must not forget the North Shore when it comes to rebuilding and resiliency for the next storm, and that’s why I am calling on two key federal agencies to prioritize a number of major shoreline projects in the Town of North Hempstead,” said Schumer. “Sandy showed no mercy to either shore of Long Island, and while the South Shore’s recovery has been critical, it’s also clear that the Town of North Hempstead is desperately in need of federal funding to make repairs and infrastructure upgrades to the Town Dock, to protective seawalls and bulkheads and for other mitigation projects along the Long Island Sound bays. We must make sure that these popular downtown waterfront areas are rebuilt stronger than before, so that residents are protected from future storms, tourists and visitors keep flocking in, and our businesses thrive long into the future.”
Judi Bosworth, the Town of North Hempstead Supervisor said, “The residents of the Town of North Hempstead have proven to be resilient following Superstorm Sandy, but we must ensure that our shoreline is as well. I am so appreciative that Senator Schumer has prioritized some of our critical rebuilding projects on the North Shore. The completion of these projects will help to safeguard our communities from future events and will bring an economic boost to local businesses and tourism.”
Although not the hardest hit community on Long Island, the Town of North Hempstead was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. According to the Town of North Hempstead, the town collected and disposed of over 55,000 tons of trees and 12,000 tons of construction material. Town crews removed over 5,000 downed trees and sidewalks, curbs and gutters were damaged at 300 different locations. According toNewsday, the storm was to blame for two deaths in North Hempstead and 103,989 power outages.
The Town of North Hempstead’s Town Dock is physically deteriorating due to Sandy damage and needs infrastructure upgrades as well as new economic development planning and improvements. The 526,776 square-foot dock is located nearby Port Washington’s Main Street area and is walking distance to a number of shops and restaurants. In addition, the dock serves as a primary spot for local fishermen and boat enthusiasts to access local waters. The dock brings in large pleasure cruises and allows for a water taxi service that ferries people out to their boats on the moorings. Damage from Sandy has hindered that activity and has also threatened safety on the local waters.
Before Sandy, the town was able to bring in two boats per day. After Sandy, due to the large amount of sediment buildup, only one boat can be brought in per day and that is only at high tide. In addition, Public Safety Harbor Patrol is stationed at the dock and often, at low tide these boats cannot get out of the harbor. These boats patrol for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) boaters and other safety concerns, but it has been difficult for the patrol to do their job efficiently post-Sandy. Additionally, the Town of North Hempstead is responsible for issuing permits for moorings and since Sandy, the Town has not been able to issue as many moorings because the water is too shallow for the boats, which is a loss of local revenue.
The Town of North Hempstead is seeking funding for feasibility, planning and an engineering study that will address the upgrade of the Town Dock and surrounding business corridor as an economic hub. The proposed project will replace the corrugated steel bulkhead system adding three feet to accommodate higher tides because of island protection erosion. The Town is in the process of applying for 406 Public Assistance (PA) funding through FEMA and though final estimates are expected to be available next week, the total project cost is estimated to be up to $15 million.
The Town of North Hempstead has also applied for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Funding to repair failing bulkheads and seawalls for projects in three locations, which play a critical role in protecting homes and businesses. The Town submitted applications for $2.9 million to the FEMA 404 program on November 1st. The three locations include:
Harbor Hills, Great Neck, NY. This is an area of 150 homes, with a park as the community center. Schumer said it is critical that the seawall be rebuilt to withstand a 100 year storm. During Superstorm Sandy, the current seawall failed, and the park flooded, which subsequently flooded and damaged the community center building and its offices, which were separately submitted for funding through the 406 program.
Bayview Avenue, Manhasset, NY. Bayview Avenue is an evacuation route for a section of Manhasset, NY. However, the road is falling into Manhasset Bay. Parts of the road are less than 12 inches from the coastline.
Sunset Park, Port Washington, NY.
North Hempstead Beach Park, which is an important recreational and revenue-generating destination in the area, was also severely impacted by Sandy, and the Town has multiple 406 Public Assistance applications submitted to FEMA for approval. North Hempstead Beach Park has approximately 1,483 linear feet of exposed parking lot to the Long Island Sound. The parking lot and facilities have a history of flooding, rain washouts and breakaways over the years. Following Sandy, the beach and waterfront, which includes a fishing pier, boat ramp, concession and sports areas, have been inundated with pieces of concrete and asphalt. Beyond disrupting recreation, this destruction has caused a water hazard for boat traffic and immediate dangers to health and safety.
During Sandy, the parking lot was used as an alternative debris site due to its proximity to North Hempstead’s transfer station and availability of space, which led to approximately nearly 30,000 tons of debris placed on the parking lot. Such substantial debris damaged the lot and the infrastructure beneath it. The Town seek is seeking $2.5 million to rebuild and reinforce the lot with stronger materials so that can continue to be a designated debris site for future storms, a critical staging area in close proximity to the North Hempstead’s Transfer Station, that will help the Town to handle emergencies. The Town of North Hempstead is also looking to repair the asphalt damage to the parking lot of the Beach which is estimated at $322,865.
Schumer said that the beach has long been susceptible to erosion and urged the federal government to assist the Town of North Hempstead in replenishing the beach and returning it to its intended splendor, all while also supporting new mitigation measures. The beach experienced erosion in 2010 and the Town was awarded $125,000 in FEMA funding, however, by the time the Town was able to replenish the beach, they were hit by Irene in 2011. Most of the sand was lost again during Superstorm Sandy; the Town of North Hempstead has estimated the loss to be about $500,000.
In order to improve mitigation efforts at the beach, The Town is in the process of applying for $1.5 million in FEMA 406 public assistance and hazard mitigation grant funding to rebuild the fishing pier and riprap on the north end of the park. During Sandy, the fishing pier was severely damaged, which is particularly problematic because underneath is a riprap that protects the beach from erosion.
Superstorm Sandy exacerbated major sedimentation in Manhasset Bay and Hempstead Harbor that has hindered navigation and compromised shoreline resiliency of the North Shore. The Town of North Hempstead has applied for Category G FEMA funding forsand removal projects from several Long Island Sound bays. These projects include sand removal from Roslyn Pond Park, Mill Pond, Leeds Pond and Manhasset Valley/ Whitney Ponds. Ponds operate as a natural filtration system for storm water runoff into the harbors, and without the necessary sand removal will continue leading to unnecessary flooding in broad swaths of the community. Schumer noted that the total project costs for this sand removal and flood prevention efforts are approximately $5 million.
Schumer today urged FEMA and HUD to work with the Town of North Hempstead in prioritizing evaluation and funding of these projects for the North Shore. Schumer explained that, overall, these efforts will help protect North Hempstead communities from future storms and help make sure these major recreational sites and visitor attractions return to normalcy.Critical Sandy Rebuilding Projects Have Not Been Funded By Feds In Town Of North Hempstead