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A design to rebuild

Storm resilience is key as teams vie for federal funds

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Rebuild By Design, an initiative created in 2012 by President Obama and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has selected 10 teams to compete for federal funding that will be used to develop methods to prevent future damage from storms like Hurricane Sandy. One of the teams competing for money to help rebuild Nassau County is the Brooklyn-based Interboro Project team.

The Interboro team has been awarded $200,000 for planning in the competition so far. In six weeks, and during the final stage of competition, other winning teams will be announced, with an undetermined amount of money to be awarded based on need.

The Interboro team looked at Sandy damage, Nassau County population and flood risk for the South Shore of Nassau County. Its long-term goals are to create a clear bay and to better manage storm water, and to reduce flood risk, said Daniel D’Oca, one of the three Interboro team experts.

“Short-term goals would include building a dike around Long Beach and developing a means for capturing storm water around Mill River in East Rockaway,” D’Oca said. “Sunrise Highway is mostly out of harm’s way and also close to the Long Island Rail Road, so why can’t we look at that as a development opportunity? We need more rentals, more housing. Long Island’s demographics are changing. We could redesign the whole highway.”

In a brainstorming session on Feb. 22, members of the Interboro Team shared the plan they hope will win the competition. They also welcomed local community members to comment and share their ideas.

Georgeen Theodore, another Interboro presenter, proposed that water gates placed in the Mill River would help with the flooding problem. “Sluices” — gates placed in moving water — “could keep the river open for use,” Theodore said. “Safety thresholds provide compartments, slowing river speed down, creating less flooding.”

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