The state will spend at least $3 million to make the east Bronx waterfront more storm resilient.
After months of meetings, a committee of community members from a broad stretch of east Bronx waterfront, from Harding Park to City Island, decided on which projects to fund with the money provided by statewide storm resiliency effort NY Rising.
At the local effort’s fourth and final open house at Providence Rest on Tuesday, January 13, committee members explained their reasons for funding or recommending 12 projects to increase protection of coastline communities in the wake of major storms.
Among the efforts fully funded through the NY Rising program, using money provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are:
• a community recovery plan to enhance coordination with existing New York City resources ($325,000)
• improvements to the waterfront Locust Point Civic Association building, including upgrades to emergency power and electrical, as well as an installation of a lift ($700,000)
• making up to three vulnerable coastline street endings more storm resistant in order to protect low-lying waterfront communities and present opportunities for increased public access and amenities ($1.85 million)
• developing Edgewater Park’s North Tower Firehouse as a community gathering place in case of emergencies, with improvements to make the building more secure in the face of storms ($1 million)
• upgrading a pumping system in Edgewater Park to decrease the chances that control panels and electrical systems would be damaged in a weather event like Superstorm Sandy ($150,000)
Other projects partially funded are a study of Westchester Creek with an eye towards more community access, and street improvements in Ferry Point.
The east Bronx Waterfront was a bit different from some other NY Rising areas, said Tom Jost, the project manager for the east Bronx committee, because it covered a greater geographic area and spanned many communities.
Jane Protzman, co-chair of the east Bronx effort, was a strong proponent of the storm recovery plan because she felt that it would benefit her City Island community, which she said can lack centralized communications. She stressed that all of the communities have similar needs.
Committee member and Community Board 10 vice-chairman John Marano said that one of his ideas that did not make the NY Rising cut was use of alternative energy to provide backup power throughout the area studied in case of storm emergencies.
“If we had solar energy backing up the power grids, our sub-pumps would not go out and our basements would not get flooded,” he said.
Chrys Napolitano, also a committee member, said that it was just good to get everyone from the sprawling east Bronx shorelines together to discuss storm resiliency.
“If nothing else, it gave us some unity,” said Napolitano.
Councilman James Vacca commended the volunteer committee members on their work, and their government partners, while explaining that much of the coastline along the waterfront in his district is vulnerable.
“The reality was this was a grassroots effort because all of you came and gave input,” the councilman said to the committee.
NY Rising was an initiative started by Governor Cuomo. Local committee chairwomen were Protzman and Valerie Wilson.