The New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program’s Bellmore-Merrick Planning Committee, a group of 12 local residents the state selected to develop a plan for how to use $12.1 million in available federal funding to lessen future catastrophic storms’ impact here, has settled on five projects that it will pitch to the state.
The committee’s shortlist includes
— Inspecting, clearing out and repairing the local stormwater drainage system, at a cost of about $4.3 million.
— Assessing outfalls, or discharge points of the stormwater system, along the canals and bay bordering south Bellmore and south Merrick and installing 25 tidal-check valves in strategic locations to help prevent flooding, at a cost of about $750,000.
— Creating a “Southwest Merrick Master Plan” for how the Town of Hempstead’s property in southwest Merrick — the Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve, Sanitation Department, Merrick Golf Course, Merrick Road Park and Merrick Senior Center — could be redeveloped using “green infrastructure” to better protect the area from flooding and serve other community needs, at a cost of $250,000. Implementing such a plan would require significantly more funding.
— Designating a few key public buildings “Community Resource Centers,” which could, following a disaster, provide residents access to information, mobile-device charging, the Internet, emergency supplies and more. A “local disaster recovery manager” would be employed to coordinate relief efforts at the centers and, in normal times, provide emergency preparedness education. Each center would also receive a natural gas generator. This project is estimated to cost $3 million. The committee’s proposed locations are the Bellmore Library, Merrick Library, Merrick Senior Center, Bellmore Senior Center and Newbridge Road Park.
— Installing LED streetlights, solar panels and backup batteries on existing utility poles along key emergency egress roads, at a cost of about $2.5 million.