Sen. Charles Schumer announced last Friday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could begin work on a $180 million coastal protection project for the barrier island this fall, after he received a commitment from the federal government to cover all of the plan’s costs.
Schumer called it a major step toward protecting local communities from future storms like Hurricane Sandy, which caused roughly $200 million in damage in Long Beach.
After the storm, he said, he secured federal relief funds to construct a system of dunes, berms and jetties along approximately 35,000 feet of shoreline in Long Beach and the Town of Hempstead, using 4.7 million cubic yards of sand.
“With funding secured and details laid out, we are on the verge of finally making a project, a decade in the making, a reality,” Schumer said in a statement. “This project, fully funded by the federal government, will ultimately provide massive protections for Long Beach residents and businesses, and should allow them to sleep a bit better at night knowing that when the next Sandy comes, they will be better protected.”
The announcement came nearly a year after the City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the corps’ coastal protection project in the aftermath of Sandy. The vote came after representatives of the corps met with city and town officials to discuss modifying a plan that had been authorized by Congress in the 1990s but was rejected by the City Council in 2006. Last year, officials said that the vote authorized the city to partner with the state to move forward with the Army Corps.
“The City of Long Beach commends Senator Schumer’s relentless efforts, both long-term and short-term, to help us protect our residents from future storms,” Councilman Len Torres said of Friday’s announcement. “Many months ago, the City Council passed a resolution that enabled the Army Corps project to go forward, and this is a crucial step toward rebuilding Long Beach stronger, smarter and safer.”