As the Army Corps of Engineers moves forward with a coastal protection project for the oceanfront, residents and local officials are continuing to stress the need to address flooding on the north side of the city, a focal point of a recent meeting of Long Beach’s Community Reconstruction Program Committee.
Long Beach endured record flooding during Hurricane Sandy, especially in the Canals and the West End. In some areas, the ocean and Reynolds Channel connected, and sewage-tinged floodwater inundated streets and homes.
As the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program neared its final submission deadline, the local committee held its third public meeting on Feb. 27 at Lindell School to present the final slate of possible projects to help fortify Long Beach against future storms. But it was clear that calls for protection along Reynolds Channel will likely influence how the city uses its share of post-Sandy funding.
“The beachfront will be done by the Army Corps, so the bayside is the most important,” said Walks resident Jaime Lynch. “We need to stop that surge of water.”
The committee presented 17 potential projects that could be funded with the $25 million the state program earmarked for the city. The priority projects include installing new bulkheading along the north side of the island, improving storm water drainage, establishing an office of emergency management, building a parking garage for emergency vehicles, raising electrical and IT systems in first responder buildings, and protecting sewer pump and lift stations, public housing units, senior centers and community centers, which served as shelters and recovery centers during Sandy.
Over the past five months, the committee has progressed from conceptualizing ideas to detailing the scope, costs and timeline of the projects. “We’re at a stage where there’s more clarity,” said resident John McNally, an associate director of the Energeia Partnership at Molloy College, who serves as co-chair of the committee, along with former City Council President Joel Crystal. “Now we’ve got it whittled down to something you can stick your teeth into.”