NY Rising presents 12 ideas for east Bronx waterfront resiliency

(l-r) Barbara Wilks, Virginia Mikaelian and Frannie Peterson review NY Rising charts with recommendations at the third public meeting in the east Bronx on Wednesday, November 5.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

The New York Rising initiative held its third public engagement meeting with recommendations for the east Bronx waterfront resiliency in major storms.

The meeting was held at Providence Rest in Country Club on Wednesday, November 5, and presented the public with 12 ideas to make much of the east Bronx waterfront more resilient in cases of extreme weather. The area covers roughly from Harding Park in Clason Point, to Throggs Neck and Ferry Point, to Country Club and Spencer Estate, and over to City Island.

As of press time, a planning committee of local community leaders and officials is expected to vote on the recommendations at their eighth meeting on Thursday, November 13. This comes after dialoguing in extensive sessions since the summer.

NY Rising is a statewide resiliency enterprise, with backing from Governor Cuomo, and with subcommittees in areas all over the state. It the east Bronx, it has $3 million to spend on capital and other improvements in communities most affected by extreme weather, and the ability to recommend larger projects and goals if needed.

The recent meeting, where the public made recommendation votes on their top three priorities out of the dozen suggested, saw a large group from the Edgewater Park community who were advocating for two proposals.

One is a plan to ensure their North Tower Firehouse’s “reliability during emergencies and optimize its use as a gathering and distribution center” for the community, according to material distributed at the meeting.

Ronald Rauch, an east Bronx committee member from Edgewater Park and also a civil engineer, said the community was concerned about the firehouse.

Edgewater Park’s firehouse water pump control panels are currently below the flood plain he said. The plan is to double the height of the control panels. He also asked that the firehouse structure itself become more resilient to major storms.

“I think this has accomplished a fostering of positive thinking and ideas about how we can move forward to help our community and the communities around it,” said Rauch. “These two projects are the beginning of making Edgewater Park self-sustaining and more resilient: able to help themselves, and at the same time help other neighbors in surrounding communities.”

Fellow New York Rising east Bronx committee member John Doyle, of City Island, said about NY Rising after the meeting: “The governor’s people seem to really be on the ball.”

Ferry Point NY Rising committee member Dorethea Poggi said that NY Rising was an opportunity for the community to plan.

“NY Rising was a great way to get the community to realize what the future might bring and what we might have to do to protect ourselves, and also what will not be done for us,” she said, adding “at least they educated us to find ways to prepare.”

Among the recommendations are the creation of a local community recovery plan to enhance functions after a storm and coordinate with city resources; improvements to the Locust Point Civic Association’s building to make it less prone to flooding; a building flood audit program with financial assistance; Hammond Cove shoreline grade elevation; City Island wetland restoration; as well as pilot project to raise some waterside street endings, and studies on Harding Park shoreline and of Westchester Creek.

For more information on the New York State initiative NY Rising as it relates to the East Bronx waterfront, visit: www.storm‌recov‌ery.ny.gov/‌nyrcr/‌commu‌nity/‌east-‌bronx‌-wate‌rfron‌t

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procc‌hio@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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