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Island Park seeks $45M in federal funds

An Island Park resident is rescued by members

An Island Park resident is rescued by members of the Atlantic Beach Rescue Dept. (Oct. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

The Village of Island Park is looking to secure $45 million in federal hazard mitigation funds to make village-wide drainage improvements and infrastructure repairs.

The funding would help efforts to lessen damage to residents and businesses that could be caused by future storms and flooding.

The village is developing plans to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's hazard mitigation grant program, which provides money to states and local governments for long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

"Hopefully, we would prove that our community suffered a lot of damage," Mayor James Ruzicka said of the village, which had about 4,600 people and 1,600 households before superstorm Sandy hit on Oct. 29. "The $45 million we would get would be well spent."

As part of the village's quest, officials are asking residents to fill out a questionnaire available on the village website, before Oct. 18, to obtain information about how much damage homes and businesses sustained during Sandy. The information will be used to help demonstrate to FEMA that losses can be diminished and potentially eliminated if the funds are awarded to repair infrastructure. The proposed work would also lessen the financial impact on taxpayers, village officials said.

"I would tell people to take this very seriously and not put this off," Island Park Chamber of Commerce president Glenn Ingoglia said. "This is very important for the sustainability of our village going forward. . . . If another storm of this magnitude would happen again, there are not many people who believe we will prevent damage totally, but if we mitigate, the damage could be less."

The village intends to repair or replace 330 drainage structures and 42,000 lineal feet of drainage piping; engineer and replace 1.1 million square feet of roadway asphalt and adjacent curbs; replace bulkheads at Little Beach, Kent Road, Sagamore, Redford Road, Norfolk Road and Rizkin Place; and install generators at the public works department building and new Village Hall, among other fixes.

Among those expected to participate is Island Park resident Aileen Arroyo, who with her husband and three children, were displaced for months from their Newport Road home after it was submerged in 8 feet of water.

"As we are rebuilding, we look forward to the rejuvenation of not only our homes, but also the rebuilding of the streets after the mitigation process is completed," said Arroyo, a retired preschool principal.

Village officials plan to hold workshops at Village Hall Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.For more information, call village hall at 516-431-0600 or visit villageofislandpark.com.

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