CB 10 district manager Ken Kearns urges constituents to apply for DEP infrastructure grants

A new program run by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection will issue $4 million worth of grants to private property owners, business owners and not-for-profit organizations to install green infrastructure that is intended to reduce flooding, sewer overflow and pollution in the event of heavy rain. But according to Community Board 10 district manager Ken Kearns, denizens of his area are not taking full advantage of the program – a trend he is baffled by considering how live in close proximity to the water.

Applications for the grants are due on Wednesday, February 15 and are available on the DEP’s web site.

A DEP press release on the program said that “preference for grants will be given to projects in DEP’s priority watersheds and those that can provide evidence that they will create further benefits such as increased shade, decreased energy use for cooling buildings, increased awareness about storm water management, and increased community stewardship.”

No part of CB 10 falls within a “priority watershed area,” but Kearns still feels homeowners would be making a mistake not to at least apply for the grants.

“It would prevent pollution in Eastchester Bay, it would prevent flooding, and it would create pleasant-looking green spaces,” he said. “You have a lot of organizations or co-op boards in these neighborhoods.”

The DEP is expecting to see proposals that involve rain-collecting mechanisms such as cisterns, green roofs, porous pavement and rain gardens. Ideally the systems would limit the flow of excess rain water into sewer systems and use it to support vegetation.

Marcia Pavlica, president of the Country Club Civic Association, said she planned to learn more about the program and possibly encourage participation in her neighborhood.

Dottie Poggi, president of Friends of Ferry Point Park, said she was aware of the program and has begun filling out the application, but was daunted at first by its complexity.

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at bweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.

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