Gov. David Paterson is seeking $11.8 million in federal disaster aid for the Rockaways following damage sustained from the remnants of Hurricane Ida during a Nov. 12 to Nov. 14 nor’easter.
“The widespread erosion of our barrier beaches and dunes has placed both private homes and critical infrastructure at tremendous risk for significant damage in the future from even a moderate coastal storm,” Paterson said in a statement released Friday. “Without the protection provided by these crucial resources, future storms have a high probability of destroying heavily traveled roadways, making any emergency evacuation of thousands of people in vulnerable coastal communities extremely dangerous and difficult.”
Dennis Michalsky of the state Emergency Management Office said the funds for the Rockaways will help combat beach erosion sustained during the nor’easter.
The damage and response costs for the Rockaways totaled nearly $11.9 million, Michalsky said.
Paterson made the formal request for federal disaster aid Friday.
Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska said he welcomes the aid.
“We’ve got two areas that historically have eroded at a greater rate,” he said, referring to Beach 90th Street through Beach 102nd Street and a section of the Beach 30’s and Beach 40’s streets.
“Unless there is some replenishment [of sand] in the short term, it will be hard to open [those stretches of beach] for the summer,” Gaska said.
Paterson also requested disaster assistance for Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.
The governor has requested a total of $41 million in aid for Long Island and Queens, Michalsky said.
A preliminary damage assessment conducted in November and earlier this month showed “severe loss and damages to both barrier dunes and beaches, exposure of hazardous structures creating an imminent threat to public health and safety, significant damage and imminent threat to coastal roads and private property, including permanent residences,” according to the governor’s office.
Nearly 19,000 customers lost electricity as the remnants of Ida swept across the Rockaway peninsula, Paterson’s office said.
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) are also requesting additional funds for the Rockaways.
“Recent storms have stripped bare too many of Long Island’s and Rockaway’s beaches, leaving them vulnerable to dune breaches, flooding and damage to nearby homes and roads, when the next storm hits,” Schumer said in a statement.
“It is critical that we open up additional funds for the replenishment of beaches on Long Island and in the Rockaways as quickly as possible,” Gillibrand said
“We must work together now to address the erosion crisis besieging New York’s beaches and shores,” Meeks said.
“We are now one windy day away from losing substantial parts of New York’s coastline, and that is unacceptable,” Weiner said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2009 Community News Group
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