De Blasio promised residents at the December town hall he held with Councilman Eric Ulrich that he would talk about coastal protections on the Rockaway peninsula and in Jamaica Bay when he met with the Army Corps of Engineers.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday met with Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, mainly to discuss coastal protections on the Rockaway peninsula and in Jamaica Bay.
In December, after a number of residents raised concerns at a town hall meeting hosted by City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), de Blasio pledged to talk about borough resiliency, especially vulnerable south Queens communities, during the scheduled January confab with USACE.
According to City Hall press officials, the 45-minute conversation between de Blasio and Semonite kicked off at 10:45 a.m. and was held at USACE headquarters in Washington, D.C. The mayor indicated that he made the case that residents of the Rockaways felt exposed to the beach erosion they were seeing in their neighborhoods. Semonite reportedly agreed to expedite beachfront protections and bayside investments.
The Corps is moving forward on the Rockaway/Jamaica Bay Reformulation Plan – a massive, several-billion-dollar project to install the best possible coastline defense to protect the whole Rockaway peninsula and communities surrounding Jamaica Bay from storms and floods in a way that is sustainable over the long-term, both for the natural coastal ecosystem and for nearby neighborhoods.
Additionally, the City announced in October that it 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.
According to the administration, the seven projects include:
• Bayswater Park: will install berm along the waterfront and other feature to help manage stormwater; will also include new sports fields, play areas, a public plaza, a refurbished comfort station and access for kayaks.
• Edgemere Raised Shoreline: 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 Superstorm 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: new waterfront park will include a new seawall and restores wetlands to mitigate tidal flooding in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood.
• Thursby Basin Park: will transform a vacant lot into a park with seawall and new resilient vegetation along the water to help protect against tidal flooding.
• NYC Parks’ Operations Headquarters for the Rockaways and Broad Channel: improvements to protect facility from future flooding to ensure it can act as a response center in the event of a future storm.