Describing the damage from Hurricane Sandy as “overwhelming,” town and county officials called on the Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday to “put a shovel in the ground” and move forward with a coastal protection plan that was shot down by the City of Long Beach in 2006.
The move follows a similar call last month from U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and came exactly a week after the Long Beach City Council unanimously approved a resolution to invite the corps to revive the project.
Saying that the corps would only move forward with a coastal protection plan that included the entire barrier island, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said she was encouraged by the resolution. “The Army Corps of Engineers has always taken the position that it’s all or none for this Long Beach island project,” Murray said at a press conference at Point Lookout Town Park beach, where she was joined by County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach), Councilwoman Angie Cullen and local civic leaders.
“If Long Beach decides to go forward with the project, then the entire barrier island could be a part of this plan,” Murray added. “We’re excited by the first step that the City Council took last week, and we certainly hope that they continue that forward progress.”
“I urge the Army Corps to come down here and work with the Town of Hempstead as well,” Ford added. “Time is of the essence, as we are working still to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy and we need to make sure that we lose no more time.”
The nearly $100 million Army Corps plan for the barrier island, first proposed in 1996, includes dune protection against a 100-year storm for seven of the nine miles of shoreline between the Jones and East Rockaway inlets. A 110-foot-wide protective berm 10 feet above sea level would be backed by a system of 25-foot-wide dunes. The city’s 16 existing groins, or jetties, would be rebuilt, and four new groins would be built at the eastern end of the island, in the Town of Hempstead. Long Beach, Nassau county and the town would be required to share the cost with the federal government and the State Department of Environmental Conservation.