Schumer pushes for speedier funds for Sandy repairs to North Shore

Sen. Charles Schumer and North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth asked for more federal aid to fund several post-Sandy recovery projects. Plans include rebuilding the town's dock to protect it from erosion, and repairing sea walls that are too short and out of compliance. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

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Long Island officials pressed the federal government Wednesday to expedite funding for various recovery projects aimed at making North Hempstead and the North Shore more resilient after superstorm Sandy.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), joined by North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth at the town dock in Port Washington, said they are seeking millions of dollars for the projects. "We know FEMA's busy," Schumer said. "We just don't want them to ignore the North Shore."

Improving the dock is the largest project being considered, with an estimated cost of $15 million, officials said. The town is applying for public assistance funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other sources -- while the dock is deteriorating as a result of the storm, officials said.

Also, sediment buildup from Sandy has hindered travel through the waters, Schumer said, noting only one boat can come in each day and only at high tide. Patrol boats, too, have difficulty leaving the bay at low tide, and it is hard for the town to issue mooring permits because the water is too shallow for the boats to pass, officials said.

The town also wants to repair failing bulkheads and sea walls, including at Great Neck, Manhasset and Port Washington. It is applying for $2.9 million in hazard mitigation funding from FEMA for those projects, officials said.

The town wants to strengthen and rebuild the parking lot at North Hempstead Beach Park, damaged after storing 30,000 tons of debris post-Sandy, officials said. Officials are seeking $2.5 million.

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The town is also applying for $1.5 million in FEMA public assistance and hazard mitigation grant funding so it can rebuild a storm-damaged fishing pier and riprap at the park that protects the beach from erosion.

The town is also seeking sand removal and flood prevention for several bays, at a cost of $5 million. Sedimentation in Manhasset Bay and Hempstead Harbor was "exacerbated" by Sandy, officials said.

FEMA spokesman Michael Meenan said in response that the agency "looks forward to working with New York State, its partner, and . . . Schumer to usher these projects through the approval process, and to make sure the community rebounds from Hurricane Sandy damages and prepares for future threats."

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