Photo Courtesy of NYC Parks
Conceptual Rendering of Proposed Bayswater Park
By Forum Staff
The City has secured a $145 million investment for up to seven resilience projects to help protect communities in the Rockaways from the impacts of climate change, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday, the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.
According to the administration, each project will be designed to improve quality of life, build more resilient neighborhoods in the Rockaway peninsula that will be better prepared to withstand future flooding and coastal storms. All seven projects were identified by the City through consultation with Rockaway residents and their elected officials.
“Superstorm Sandy devastated communities, especially in neighborhoods in the Rockaways, and the risks posed by future storms remain high. These seven resilience projects are critical measures toward hardening our neighborhoods and protecting Queens families from future storms and flooding. The substantial investments are a reflection of New York’s commitment to think creatively and act boldly to address climate change and mitigate its impacts,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
Earlier this year, the City submitted a list of recreational and resiliency projects to be considered by FEMA for funding from cost savings from the Rockaway Beach boardwalk reconstruction. According to the administration, a total of $480 million was obligated for the Rockaway Boardwalk project, and de Blasio committed to keep any additional funding that was not spent on the boardwalk in the Rockaways. In total, $120 million was saved from reconstructing the boardwalk. Under FEMA 428 program rules, the City was able to allocate the saving to other resiliency projects. FEMA reviewed the City’s application and approved the full amount to be used on the submitted recreational and resiliency projects pending approval of environmental and historical preservation reviews. This was supplemented by a contribution of $25 million from the administration, Katz and other public and private sources. With FEMA’s approval, the City will now be able to complete design on the following seven projects, moving them another step closer to construction, subject to final FEMA approval.
• Bayswater Park. This project will install berm along the waterfront and other feature to help manage stormwater. It will also include new sports fields, play areas, a public plaza, a refurbished comfort station and access for kayaks.
• Edgemere Raised Shoreline. This project will raise the shoreline around the Edgemere neighborhood. It will include new vegetated berm and new bulkheads to help mitigate coastal flooding.
• Shore Front Parkway Recreation Zone. Will include six new recreational facilities along Shorefront Parkway to replace those lost during Sandy.
• Rockaway Community Park. Will include a raising of the shorelines around the park’s eastern and western edges as well as restore the native wetlands as a natural buffer between the park and Jamaica Bay.
• Beach 88th Street Park. This new waterfront park will include a new seawall and restores wetlands to mitigate tidal flooding in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood. It will also include play and seating areas and kayak access.
• Thursby Basin Park. This project will transform a vacant lot into a park with seawall and new resilient vegetation along the water to help protect against tidal flooding. It will also include new sport courts, play equipment, and a kayak launch.
• NYC Parks’ Operations Headquarters for the Rockaways and Broad Channel. This project will elevate past of the facility protect from future flooding to ensure it can as a response center in the event of a future storm.