It was a Valentine’s Day gift bound to bring some smiles and comfort to a community still struggling to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy.
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced the details Friday of a $180 million dune and groin protection system for Long Beach, the South Shore community decimated when the devastating superstorm slammed its shores Oct. 31, 2012, obliterating homes, businesses, its boardwalk and anything that stood in its path, including many other Long Island communities.
The project entails the construction of a beach berm, dune and groin system to reduce the potential for storm damage along approximately 35,000 linear feet of shoreline, including the creation or rehabilitation of at least 22 groins, more than 4.7 million cubic yards of sand, and could start as early as fall 2014, said Schumer, citing data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Another key detail: It will all be footed by Uncle Sam. Schumer stated he’d successfully convinced the federal Office of Management and Budget that it was not Congress’ intent to have the local and state taxpayers pick up a 35-percent portion of the tab, as the senator said the agency had sought, following his security of $180 million in federal funds from the $50 billion Sandy relief bill signed into law by President Obama in January 2013. Thus, he added, local and state taxpayers will be saved much-needed funds and the important project will actually happen.
“With funding secured and details laid out, we are on the verge of finally making a project, a decade in the making, a reality,” Schumer said in a statement. “This project, fully funded by the federal government, will ultimately provide massive protections for Long Beach residents and businesses, and should allow them to sleep a bit better at night knowing that when the next Sandy comes, they will be better protected.
“While I would have preferred to get shovels in the ground sooner, a project of this magnitude and complexity took the Army Corps and other federal agencies longer than expected to design and implement,” he added.
Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano expressed gratitude toward Schumer, a Democrat, stating: “I commend Senator Schumer for working with Nassau County, Hempstead Town and the City of Long Beach to strengthen our shoreline and protect local neighborhoods against future storms.”
Republican Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray was also thankful.
“We fought hard for the Long Beach Island project for more than two decades and one of the constant partners through the fight has been Senator Schumer,” she said in a statement. “We thank Senator Schumer for his continued support and leadership. This puts us one step closer to putting a ‘shovel in the sand,’ hardening our coastline and protecting homes and infrastructure on the barrier island.”