With coastal storms and flooding set to become more common, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $145 million investment to help protect the Rockaways.
The mayor made the announcement Sunday on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on New York City in 2012. The Rockaways in Queens were hit particularly hard, and the peninsula remains vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
To help protect the area from future storms, the $145 million investment will fund up to seven resilience projects, each with the goal to “improve quality of life [and] build more resilient neighborhoods in the Rockaway peninsula that will be better prepared to withstand future flooding and coastal storms,” the city announced.
“These investments are an important step forward for Rockaways residents, connecting them with parks and the waterfront, while helping shield them from future storms,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The community will see a lot they will like in newly renovated parks, and will feel safer because of the flood protections that will be built in. New York is building this kind of smart infrastructure to fight climate change and inequality at the same time, so future generations will inherit a city that’s more resilient and just.”
The money for these projects is left over from the funds allotted for the Rockaway Boardwalk project, which came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). A total of $480 million was obligated for the boardwalk and $120 million was saved from its reconstruction.
The additional $25 million for these future plans came from the administration, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other public and private sources, according to the city.
The seven new projects, now awaiting final FEMA approval, plan to:
- install a raised barrier along the waterfront of Bayswater Park to manage stormwater, as well as new sports fields, play areas, a public plaza and access for kayaks;
- install a raised shoreline around the Edgemere neighborhood, including a new bulkhead to manage flooding;
- create six new recreational facilities along the Shore Front Parkway, replacing those destroyed by Sandy;
- raise the shorelines around Rockaway Community Park and restore the native wetlands, which will act as a natural buffer to coastal flooding;
- create a new Beach 88th Street Park with a new seawall and kayak access, and restore wetlands there to mitigate flooding;
- turn a vacant lot into Thursby Basin Park, with sport courts, play equipment, a kayak launch and a seawall and new vegetation to protect against flooding; and
- elevate the NYC Parks Operations Headquarters for the Rockaways and Broad Channel, to ensure it can be an effective response center in case of future storms.
Public scoping meetings concerning these projects are expected to be held in spring and summer 2018.