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Friday, July 25, 2014

Funding for Army Corps project a go
U.S. government to assume all costs of Long Beach coastal protection plan
Courtesy City of Long Beach
City Manager Jack Schnirman, right, Public Works Commissioner Jim LaCarrubba and Deputy DPW Commissioner Joe Febrizio met with representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers last Friday to discuss a new coastal protection project for Long Beach.

Just days after city officials held a meeting with representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss a plan to protect the barrier island from future storms like Hurricane Sandy, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said on Tuesday that the federal government would fund the entire $150 million project.

Typically, if the city were to approve the project, it would share the cost with the federal government, which would pay for 65 percent of the work. Such an agreement, however, could leave cash-strapped Long Beach on the hook for millions of dollars for its share.

But after a month-long campaign by Schumer, who called on the government to cover all the costs of the project, the Army Corps plan will now be fully federally funded because, he explained, it is designed to protect against future storms.

“Today we’ve turned this project, long a dream of Long Beach residents, into a reality,” Schumer said in a statement. “By agreeing to pick up the full tab for this project, the federal government has virtually guaranteed that this critical coastal protection project will be built — and it will save money for local taxpayers. Homeowners and residents in Lido Beach, Point Lookout, East Atlantic Beach and Long Beach can feel a little more secure knowing that vital protections, in the form of dunes, will now be constructed.”

The announcement came more than three months after the City Council decided to revisit a $98.5 million Army Corps coastal protection plan that was rejected in 2006, mainly because it did not address flooding along Reynolds Channel. A number of residents said that the project would ruin ocean views, and that dredging and beach replenishment might negatively affect wave conditions, sand quality and rip currents.

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