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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sandy group talks rebuilding
Committee will submit plan to spend $25M on Long Beach projects
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.

Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy, a committee of Long Beach residents representing a cross-section of the community has been tasked with developing a plan to spend $25 million on storm recovery efforts in the city as part of the state’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program.

Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the program in July, to assist communities damaged by Sandy and Tropical Storms Irene and Lee; 102 municipalities statewide are eligible to receive more than $750 million for reconstruction, including 21 on Long Island. Long Beach is eligible for the maximum $25 million, and local planning committees are leading the effort.

The reconstruction program will help communities develop comprehensive and innovative rebuilding plans. The plans, according to the state, will be driven by the needs of each community and developed by committees comprising local civic leaders, experts and officials. Grant amounts will be based on the extent of damage, as assessed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as applications for new infrastructure and other mitigation, and will be awarded once the plans are completed and submitted to the state for approval. The process is expected to take approximately eight months.

The 12-member committee in Long Beach was chosen over the summer, and includes representatives from the West End, the Canals, North Park and other neighborhoods. Its co-chairs are John McNally, associate director of the Energeia Partnership at Molloy College, and former City Council President Joel Crystal.

“We set criteria for committee members, as did the state, and the state ultimately approved the entire committee …,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said. “The committee will be reviewing previous planning efforts that the city has undertaken, and is working with expert consultants to rebuild the city using principles of resiliency and sustainability to protect the city’s infrastructure, promote economic development and generate shovel-ready projects that will qualify for state and federal funding.”

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