Six years after superstorm Sandy flooded Long Beach, the city is still recovering as it prepares for the next deluge, local officials said Sunday.
“We cannot forget the sacrifices made by so many ,” City Council Vice President Chumi Diamond said at a news conference on the boardwalk. “As many in our community know and still understand, our city was overwhelmed by the toll that Sandy took on the homes and businesses as well as our infrastructure, but Long Beach spirit prevailed.”
Speaking in front of new beach dunes, Diamond said that with the help of state and federal funding, the city was continuing work on infrastructure projects intended to protect against future floods.
The city plans to build new bulkheading on its north shore bayfront in order to protect its water facilities, an electric substation and an LIRR station. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced it will reimburse the city $20 million for the project that also includes a pump station and stormwater upgrades in residential areas.
Acting City Manager Michael Tangney said the new stormwater drain system will direct water to a collection area to prevent flooding in the streets and the water would then be pumped out when the tide goes out. Tangney said the city is also trying to secure funding for homeowners to raise their private bulkheads.
The city is also adding bulkheads to its public shorelines on its West End in a separate project using $12.5 million in state funding.
Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said the next phase in infrastructure hardening in Long Beach and other South Shore communities will be the completion of a new report by the Army Corps. of Engineers on the bayfront side.
“That should be the blueprint, but that’s a long way from understanding what the communities want and then how to fund them,” Kaminsky said after the news conference.
Officials praised the city’s first responders and recalled the spirit of community in the aftermath of the flooding.
“Every single one of us here was impacted dramatically by this storm and unfortunately many of us still are,” Assemb. Melissa Miller (R-Atlantic Beach) said. “We saw and experienced unimaginable devastation and loss, but we saw and experienced phenomenal comradeship.”