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North Hempstead targets federal funds for park improvements

During the next four years, North Hempstead plans

During the next four years, North Hempstead plans to use $44 million in federal money to help repair the Town Dock, as well as parking lots, parks and other areas damaged from superstorm Sandy. Nov. 4, 2016 Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

More than four years after superstorm Sandy, some of North Hempstead’s favored attractions — the Town Dock for boating and Michael J. Tully Park for a cool dip in the pool — are far from ready for the coming summer recreation season.

But during the next four years, North Hempstead plans to use $44 million in federal money to help repair parking lots, the Town Dock, parks and other areas damaged in the October 2012 storm. The work also will make the facilities more resistant to the next big storms.

The funding comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will help pay for architectural studies and site construction. Almost $5 million from the state will also help the effort.

North Hempstead has 30 miles of coastline, which means residents often go to the water for outdoor recreation, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.

“Our residents are drawn to the water all year-round, but, of course, in the summer months, the attendance just skyrockets,” Bosworth said. “It’s the prime season for fishing, boating and, my favorite, strolling along the water’s edge.”

Two areas now slated for repairs include $10.6 million for the parking lots at North Hempstead Beach Park, in Port Washington, and $5.5 million for the parking lot at Tully Park in New Hyde Park. Both locations became makeshift debris collection sites after the storm, said Tom Devaney, the town’s grant coordinator. At one point, the parking lots held more than 18 tons of trash and tree limbs, and the weight damaged the pavement.

“When you pile that much debris on top of each other, it creates pressure, which creates heat, and there was damage and fires,” Devaney said.

In total, the money will fund 15 projects and is the largest amount of FEMA restoration money ever awarded to the town, Devaney said. The largest repair project involves $20 million to reconstruct the Town Dock in Port Washington, which flooded soon after the Sandy.

Bosworth said a new dock will be designed to better handle another major storm. Plans call for a taller dock with a new drainage system to prevent flooding, and steel pilings treated to resist water corrosion, she said.

“We’re talking about making the dock more resilient,” Bosworth said. “The last time it was renovated was 1978.”

Town officials first have to approve bond measures to generate funds to pay for the work upfront; FEMA will then reimburse the town for the spending.

“Government has really shrunk dollars going to municipal budgets, so with that in mind, having this subsidized by the federal government is just smart planning and a smart investment on their part,” said Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a Northport-based nonprofit that lobbies for increased infrastructure funding across Long Island.

Proposed projects and costs

  • Aquatic sand removal at Hempstead Harbor: $119,000
  • Shoreline restoration at Robert Dayton Park: $425,000
  • Aquatic sand removal at Mill Pond: $700,000
  • Facility repairs at Harbor Hills Park: $740,000
  • Repairs to Michael J. Tully Park: $990,000
  • Pier improvements at North Hempstead Beach Park: $1,200,000
  • General improvements at Gerry Pond Park: $1,294,382
  • Boat ramp aquatic sand removal at Manorhaven Beach Park: $1,375,000
  • Shoreline stabilization on Bayview Avenue: $1,460,000
  • Aquatic sand removal at Leeds Pond: $1,856,533
  • Aquatic sand removal at the Town Dock: $2,900,000
  • South side parking lot improvements at North Hempstead Beach Park: $3,668,587
  • Parking reconstruction at Michael J. Tully Park: $5,500,000
  • North side parking lot reconstruction at North Hempstead Beach Park: $7,000,000
  • Town dock reconstruction: $20,050,000

Source: Town of North Hempstead

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