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Long Beach buying shoreline from Hempstead Town to protect infrastructure

This is the shoreline of critical infrastructure in

This is the shoreline of critical infrastructure in front of the water treatment plant in Long Beach on Oct. 20. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Town of Hempstead plans to sell 0.2 acres of shoreline to Long Beach as the city plans a $20 million bulkheading project around its utilities and critical infrastructure.

Hempstead Town Board members are to vote Jan. 8 on an agreement to sell the seabed land for $55,250. The city plans to build about a half-mile of steel bulkheading on its north shore, from under the Long Beach Boulevard bridge to National Boulevard.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced in October that the city would be fully reimbursed for the section of bulkheading to be built around the wastewater treatment plant, water purification plant and electric substation.

Long Beach corporation counsel Rob Agostisi called the bay protection “the single most important project” in the past decade and since superstorm Sandy.

“There was an almost post-apocalyptic scene that descended on the city after Sandy,” Agostisi said. “We were not able to provide basic services that give rise to a modern civilization.”

Long Beach lost its infrastructure-dependent services to floodwaters in the weeks after Sandy, including sewage treatment, electricity and drinking water.

“This is the best chance to protect and ensure the city’s very inhabitability and the continuity of life on the barrier island,” Agostisi said of the improvements.

The City Council voted to approve an environmental assessment report that found no negative impact from the bulkhead project.

Long Beach and Hempstead Town officials agreed on the price after two appraisals found the land valued between $50,000 and $60,000. The land sale is expected to close by March 31.

The city would build 9-foot bulkheading across about 2,500 linear feet of shoreline in Reynolds Channel. Construction is expected to begin next spring and should be completed by fall 2021.

The storm protection plan also includes a pump station that can redirect 33 million gallons of water per day and reduce flooding on streets along the North Shore. Stormwater is to be collected from Riverside Boulevard and sent to outfall discharge into Reynolds Channel, city officials said.

A separate $12 million state-funded project is also planned in the spring to build bulkheading around the city’s public property on the west end of Reynolds Channel and in the canal streets. The city will not cover bulkheading for private homes after emergency funding came up $16 million short from the city’s design plan.

“Nothing has been built on the northside at all for decades,” City Council President Anthony Eramo said. “We understand we need 100 percent coverage.”  

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