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Island Park awarded $1.8M in federal funds for post-Sandy drainage

The aftermath of superstorm Sandy is seen in

The aftermath of superstorm Sandy is seen in Island Park on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. Credit: Alejandra Villa

Island Park will receive $1.8 million to kick-start a $40 million storm drainage project planned to protect the village against future disasters.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced the funding Tuesday with Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) as the start of a major storm drainage plan, designed to safeguard the village in the event of another natural disaster like superstorm Sandy in 2012. The entire project is to be paid for through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

The initial funding will cover the first phase of the storm drainage system and include a comprehensive engineering study to rehabilitate Island Park's drainage system, Mayor Michael McGinty said.

"It will probably be sufficient, God forbid, if there's another storm," McGinty said. "During any day, there are two periods where water cannot be evacuated due to changing tides, and now that may be mitigated."

The village, located north of Long Beach, was inundated with floodwaters and 6- to 8-foot storm surges during Sandy. About 95 percent of homes in the village of about 4,600 people were damaged or destroyed. Flooding also damaged two schools, the public library, Village Hall and several businesses throughout the main corridor.

The first phase of the drainage project will look to add municipal bulkheads and redo roads to replace drainage pipes. The study will determine where the new bulkheads need to be built and roads should be raised.

The federally funded project will replace 42,000 feet of new storm sewers, tide gates, subsurface storm water retention and 2,000 feet of upgraded bulkhead, according to congressional officials.

"Almost three years after Sandy brought a massive storm surge that left Island Park completely under water, this first installment of federal funding will allow the Village to start overhauling their storm drainage system so that residents and properties are better protected from extreme weather events in the future," Rice said in a written statement.

Officials believe the drainage study could occur during the next six months and then construction could start in phases on a road-by-road basis based on drainage priority, McGinty said. The village is completing a request for proposals for engineer consultants.

Work could be focused first on major roads such as Nassau Lane and South Suffolk Road, which have previously been chronically flooded. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is doing additional work on Little Beach and Mud Creek.

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