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Long Beach, Island Park win federal grants for Sandy repairs

West Broadway in Long Beach covered with water

West Broadway in Long Beach covered with water and sand after superstorm Sandy. More than $4 million in relief grants to Long Beach and Island Park will pay for school repairs and a water purification plant. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded more than $4 million in superstorm Sandy relief grants to Long Beach and Island Park for school repairs and a water purification plant.

Democratic New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) announced the FEMA recovery grants Friday to use $2.7 million for repairs to the Island Park school district. Another $1.7 million goes toward the Long Beach water purification plant and eight Sandy-damaged wells on the city’s bay front facing Reynolds Channel.

The Island Park school district’s Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School and Lincoln Orens Middle School sustained heavy flooding and damage during Sandy. The grant will go toward paying for repairing damaged floors and air ventilators, and replacing the school’s heating and hot water system. Repairs were also made to walls, plumbing, electrical and data lines. The grant also will pay for musical instruments, textbooks, computers and library books destroyed in the October 2012 storm.

“The process of repairing this damage has been financially challenging for our school district,” Island Park Superintendent Rosmarie T. Bovino said in a written statement. “We continue to work with our current public assistance team to finalize the reimbursement process, and we are grateful for the assistance our legislators secured for the community of Island Park and its schools through FEMA. Without this, there would have been no viable alternative enabling families to rebuild their homes and our Board of Education to rebuild its schools.”

Long Beach was reimbursed for repairs to the city’s water purification plant including replacing electrical wiring and a generator that is now elevated for better flood and storm protection. Long Beach City Councilman Scott Mandel said the new equipment was installed and better shielded from future storms.

Schumer said he helped secure a generator in the middle of the night during the storm to prevent further damage to Long Beach’s water supply.

“These two federal grants are another important investment in our district’s recovery that will help ensure that our communities can keep working to rebuild without bearing the full costs of recovery,” Rice said in a statement. “I’ll keep working with all of our local, state and federal partners to make sure our district gets the resources and support we need to fully recover from Sandy and come back stronger and more resilient than ever.”

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