2013-03-15 / Front Page

Jetties On The Way

Schumer Says Beach Getting What It Needs

PHOTO – From a January rally PHOTO – From a January rally Although the Army Corps of Engineers announced at a recent community meeting that Rockaway would be protected better than it has been in years and that is “wasn’t business as usual” there was still the matter of how it was to be fully paid for. The Sandy relief bill only required the Feds to pick up 65 percent of the project leaving the remaining tab for local governments. Whether such a big bill could be handled by the city and state is no longer an issue as Senator Charles Schumer has secured a commitment from the Army Corps to pay for the entire project.

The additional funds will allow Rockaway to get higher dunes and long sought jetties, according to Schumer. “Today we’ve turned these projects, long a dream of coastal communities, into a reality,” said Schumer in a press release. “From Rockaway to Coney Island, this will green light project-after-project that are vital to protecting these vulnerable communities from future floods. By agreeing to pick up the full tab for these projects, the federal government has guaranteed that these critical coastal protection projects will be built – and it will save money for local taxpayers. Homeowners and residents along Rockaway and Coney Island’s coastline can feel a little more secure knowing that vital protections, in the forms of higher dunes and jetties, will now be constructed.”

Securing the extra funds was considered great news by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder who was instrumental in getting Schumer to visit Rockaway after Hurricane Irene in 2011, making the senator aware of the damage done by that storm. “We have screamed, protested, rallied and written letters and thanks to all our hard work, we now have the federal funding in place to keep our homes, businesses and families safe. This is a huge victory for all of us,” Goldfeder said.

Part of the extra money will go to finishing an Army Corps study that was near completion. Although Schumer cited dunes and jetties in his Wednesday’s announcement, the exact plans of how the beach will be protected are not settled. The study must be completed before detailed plans for protection are known. For its part, the Army Corps says most of the plan was developed by 2011 “but will require significant revision after the Sandy storm.” The Corps added that it expects to “rapidly reevaluate” and make recommendations for future construction. Still, many locals expect the completed study will allow for remedies such as jetties.

“This is the greatest news Rockaway has heard in a long time,” said John Cori, President of Friends of Rockaway Beach. “We have been organizing and rallying and it’s nice to know that somebody was listening. There is still a lot of work to be done and we will stay vigilant until all the work is done.”

Congressman Gregory Meeks echoed the sentiments, “This is great news for the people of the Rockaway peninsula. Full funding for the Rockaway Beach Protection Project will expedite the construction of rock jetties and replacement of lost sand in order to protect our community from experiencing this kind of devastation again.”

The following is a summary released by Schumer’s office:

Rockaway Beach - The project study area is located along the shoreline on the Rockaway Peninsula. The project was authorized by Congress as a 100-200 foot wide beach at an elevation of 10 feet from Beach 149th Street to Beach 19th Street, approximately 6.2 miles. From 1977 until 2004, the Army Corps of Engineers designed, constructed and maintained the project under two major construction projects. Because of the high costs, the Corps was directed to “reformulate” the original plan, with the objective of finding a long term, costeffective solution (potentially including dunes, stone-groins and other protective measures) to staunch the effects of continued erosion on the Rockaway peninsula. Supplemental package funding would repair the existing project by replenishing sand to the 1977 designed level, finish the reformulation study, and construct any improvements recommended by the study needed for additional protection.

The estimated cost of this project is $300 million.

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