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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sandy group talks rebuilding
(Page 2 of 3)
Anthony Rifilato/Herald
The Long Beach committee will look at long-term resiliency and economic development projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The group is scheduled to hold its first public-input meeting on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Long Beach Public Library.

The funding comprises more than $250 million in FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds and $500 million in federal supplemental appropriations, a small part of the $30 billion that Congress approved for New York last January.

McNally, a Michigan Street resident whose home was destroyed by the storm, said that while Long Beach is eligible for $25 million, the committee has been tasked with developing a comprehensive plan that will be used by the state for future resiliency funding.

“The ultimate plan we are supposed to put together should be far-reaching and well beyond the $25 million,” he said, adding that the storm caused $200 million in damage in Long Beach. “Clearly, $25 million is not going to solve all of our problems.”

Schnirman said that the city has applied to the Hazard Mitigation Grant program to fund the installation of flood gates to close off canals in the event of a major storm, and is looking at other ways to prevent flooding in the city.

“The bayfront will certainly be a major focus of the committee’s work,” he said, “and the first goal is to build on existing plans, which include bulkheading and tide flex valves. The committee’s role will be to look at all of the plans, and how we can use the opportunity to make sure we’re being as resilient as possible while redeveloping areas that promote economic development … As we go forward, there will be very robust community engagement, similar to what we did with the boardwalk project.”

Schnirman said that the reconstruction program is separate from Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funding, which is also administered by New York Rising, which was created to provide supplemental funding for homeowners and businesses that are not covered by FEMA, insurance reimbursements or Small Business Administration loans.

“The purpose of this program is to work on plans to rebuild the city to protect the city’s infrastructure and promote economic development,” Schnirman said.

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