The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $30 million in funding for the rebuilding of Long Beach's boardwalk, money that will be available to the state by Friday, federal officials announced Tuesday.
The boardwalk, destroyed by superstorm Sandy, reopened late last month at a cost of $42.7 million. During the reopening ceremony, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced state plans to use a portion of $2.1 billion in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development money to bridge about $9 million of the gap in funding, ensuring the rebuilding of the 2.2-mile boardwalk will not cost Long Beach taxpayers.
Long Beach officials originally pegged the cost at $25 million, but estimates rose after the City Council opted to rebuild with more durable and expensive tropical hardwood. The $42.7 million price tag was $1.5 million less than what the city had budgeted.
"With this announcement, the $30 million for Long Beach has been signed, sealed and delivered," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "Though we had anticipated this money coming, it is good to know that it is finally on its way and that there were no unpleasant surprises that would delay it."
FEMA will make available $30,397,790 to the state by Friday, Jim Homstad, a FEMA spokesman said. That figure represents 90 percent of what Long Beach is eligible to receive for the project, said Homstad. The state will then distribute the funds to Long Beach, officials said.
"This initial funding from FEMA along with additional funding from New York State ensures that our brand-new, more resilient boardwalk will be fully paid for by recovery funding -- at no additional cost to Long Beach taxpayers," said City Council President Scott J. Mandel.
The boardwalk runs along the oceanfront and its comeback is deemed vital to the city's economic survival.