U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to work with local officials, engineers and resiliency experts to develop a comprehensive resiliency plan for Nassau Countyâ€™s mainland communities.
A comprehensive protection project, the Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) Project, is moving forward in Suffolk County, however no such comprehensive project exists for Nassau County. Schumer today called for HUD to use Community Development Block Grant funds, provided by the Sandy relief bill, to design and implement a county-wide resiliency project that incorporates the barrier island projects that are already being completed, as well as additional mainland projects to protect communities there. Schumer called for the plan to be completed by next summer, and construction to start in early 2015.
â€śNassau County needs a comprehensive regional resiliency plan so that all the mitigation projects we are working on can be tied together in a way that makes everyone safer and ensures that no communities are left out,â€ť said Schumer. â€śI am pleased that we are moving forward with important and necessary Army Corps projects like FIMP for those living in Suffolk, however, HUD should step up to the plate and help develop similar projects for Nassau Countyâ€™s mainland communities like Merrick, Oceanside and Freeport. “
â€śI commend Senator Schumer for always fighting for Long Island as we all need to work together so Nassau and Suffolk get the resources they need to recover from Superstorm Sandy and to make us more resilient for the next storm,â€ť said Kevin S. Law, President & CEO, Long Island Association.
“While Long Island homeowners and businesses struggle to recover from the physical, financial and psychological impacts of Superstorm Sandy, government must focus on rebuilding its infrastructure to resiliency to minimize the effects of future storms. Senator Schumer knows this well and is working to ensure that the federal government provides the necessary resources to make this happen,â€ť said John D. Cameron, Jr., Chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council.
Schumer said that HUD already has a program in place, created and funded by the Sandy relief bill, that could be used to create and implement this comprehensive plan. Currently, HUD is promoting a regional design program, known as â€śRebuild by Design,â€ť that is focused on developing resiliency projects for Sandy-affected communities. The program is bringing together teams of people from both inside and outside government to harvest the best practices and best ideas for how to protect the coastline. HUD has already selected ten design teams to help develop and review projects, and Schumer said that Secretary Shaun Donovan should direct several of these teams to work with local officials and experts, and develop a comprehensive protection plan for Nassau County, and that that plan should be selected for funding.
The Sandy relief bill provided approximately $16 billion in CDBG funds, and less than $6 billion has been spent, meaning that there are plenty of funds left for this purpose. According to the HUD timeline, final plans should be selected and ready by the end of March of 2014. Schumer made the case that a final plan should focus on infrastructure hardening and flood mitigation â€“ bulkheads, levees, road raising and other measures – in communities along the Southern Shore, like Lawrence, Oceanside and Freeport and many others.
Press Release, September 10, 2013