Feds Urged to Approve $58M Plan to Prepare Queens for Next Sandy

Feds Urged to Approve $58M Plan to Prepare Queens for Next Sandy

A collapsed home in Breezy Point after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Richard York

A collapsed home in Breezy Point after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Richard York

Tens of millions of dollars could be headed to Breezy Point for a comprehensive flood protection system should the federal government give its stamp of approval, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks encouraged it to do last week.

Cuomo and Meeks announced a $58.2 million flood plan for Breezy Point last Thursday, when the two also urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to greenlight the proposal that was submitted to it last week.

“Superstorm Sandy brought an unprecedented level of damage to Breezy Point, and as we rebuild from that tragedy, we must do so in a way that makes us stronger in the face of future storms,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “This plan was developed by the local community, is designed to meet the challenges of extreme weather, and will go a long way toward creating a community that is safer and more resilient than ever before.”

Located on the westernmost end of the Rockaway Peninsula, Breezy Point suffered significant damage during Sandy. Waves struck from the Atlantic Ocean, while rising waters poured into the community from Jamaica Bay. The storm also damaged electrical power systems, sparking a fire that ultimately consumed 135 homes. Overall, the community lost about 350  homes – more than 10 percent of the neighborhood’s roughly 2,700 houses.

The flood proposal includes a double dune barrier system and bayside flood and erosion protection measures designed to guard against future storms.

“Our coastal communities are vulnerable to rising sea levels and worsening storm surges that place countless lives directly in the path of danger,” Meeks said. “These preventative measures will save lives as well as go a long way to protecting a community that was heavily damaged during Superstorm Sandy and ensuring that this type of destruction does not happen again. I am confident that with the help of the governor, all our communities on the Rockaway Peninsula will emerge from the shadows of this storm more resilient than ever.”

The proposed dune system, which would continue the existing dune line located on the Atlantic side of the Breezy Point Cooperative’s property, will provide sustainable, natural flood and erosion protection utilizing the area’s natural features, Cuomo said.

The plan is comprised of an ocean side double dune system and complementary set of bayside flood and erosion protections that are designed to safeguard the community from future natural disasters.

By Anna Gustafson

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