New York State’s NY Rising initiative, designed to make waterfront communities more resilient during natural disasters, recently held its first public meeting in the east Bronx.
The public forum meeting was designed to gather community input to shape a plan for millions in storm aid in case another Superstorm Sandy-like event hits us.
The first in a series of local meetings took place at Providence Rest Nursing Home in Country Club on Monday, August 4. The East Bronx Waterfront section of NY Rising is just one part of a much larger statewide initiative, said officials from Governor Cuomo’s administration.
A committee of community leaders will represent The East Bronx Waterfront, and the goals many of the committee members cited was to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses that could be improved with better infrastructure or planning.
Not to be confused by the city’s own similar effort called Build it Back, NY Rising has locals identifying assets already in place in their communities and determining what needs to be done to increase resiliency, said Cuomo officials. Senator Jeff Klein, who sent representatives from his office to the meeting, praised the goals.
“After Superstorm Sandy, our first priority was to help those devastated by the hurricane get back on their feet,” said Klein. “Though rebuilding efforts continue, preparation and prevention for future storms is critical to mitigating damage. So I am pleased that communities across the Northeast Bronx will be part of NY Rising’s Community Reconstruction Program.”
The senator also seemed pleased by the fact that the communities, which include parts of his district, not just at the shoreline, but further inland, would be giving their ideas on how best to handle future disasters.
“This innovative program allows those who understand our neighborhoods best to weigh in on what projects are the most high-risk,” he said. “By working together every step of the way, we can improve the resiliency of our homes, businesses and neighborhoods.”
According to officials, $3 million will be spent in the short-term in the east Bronx area, stretching from the Bronx River in the west to City Island in the east.
Local committee member John Doyle also explained that in addition to the $3 million spent in the short term, the ideas of the committee should further the study of what to build in terms of larger infrastructure.
“Sandy was a wake up call to a lot of us in the sense that when the gas stations were without fuel it was very difficult to get around, people were kind of confined to their communities,” said Doyle. “So we have to look at this in more than a regional approach, but community by community. People without power, where can they go? If they need a hot shower or a meal, how can we react quickly?”
Officials said the plan is to have three more public meetings, the next being in September.
For more information, visit the NY Rising website’s East Bronx Waterfront page at stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/community/east-bronx-waterfront