5 years after Sandy, mayor announces $145M project to strengthen Rockaway shoreline

Beach 88th Street Park Conceptual Rendering
Rendering courtesy of Parks Department

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on waterfront communities in Queens and exposed the vulnerability residents could face when future storms hit.

On Oct. 29, five years after the hurricane, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a number of initiatives to help the Rockaways withstand future flooding and storms. In total, the city will fund seven resiliency projects for $145 million.

According to officials, though $480 million were allocated to fund the Rockaway Beach boardwalk reconstruction the project cost $360 million. The remaining $120 million will help fund the remaining seven projects and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz along with other public and private sources will pitch in $25 million.

Projects will range from repairing existing infrastructure to creating new parks with seawalls and other features to help mitigate flood damage.

“These investments are an important step forward for Rockaways residents, connecting them with parks and the waterfront, while helping shield them from future storms,” the mayor said. “The community will see a lot they will like in newly renovated parks, and will feel safer because of the flood protections that will be built in. New York is building this kind of smart infrastructure to fight climate change and inequality at the same time, so future generations will inherit a city that’s more resilient and just.”

Bayswater Park in Far Rockaway will receive a makeover that includes a berm along the waterfront, new sports fields, play areas, a public plaza, refurbished bathrooms and access to kayaks.

Rendering of Bayswater Park courtesy of Parks Department
Rendering of Bayswater Park courtesy of Parks Department

Another project will raise the shoreline around Edgemere, which spans Beach 32nd Street to Beach 52nd Street. New vegetated berms and bulkheads will also be installed to reduce coastal flooding in the event of another storm.

Shore Front Parkway, which housed several recreational facilities that were destroyed during Superstorm Sandy, will receive six new facilities.

The shorelines surrounding Rockaway Community Park in Far Rockaway will be raised and the native wetlands will be restored.

A new play facility, Beach 88th Street Park in Rockaway Beach, will include a new seawall, restored wetlands, play and seating areas and access to kayaks.

A vacant lot in Arverne will be transformed into Thursby Basin Park, which will include a seawall, resilient vegetation, sports courts, play equipment and a kayak launch.

Lastly, the Parks Department’s operations headquarters for the Rockaways and Broad Channel will be elevated to make sure staff can respond to future storms.

Public scoping meetings to gather input from Queens residents about designs will begin in the spring and summer of 2018.

In response to Hurricane Sandy, the Office of Recovery and Resiliency was created to embark on an expansive resiliency project. The OneNYC climate resiliency program includes $20 billion worth of projects across the five boroughs to prepare New York City for future storms.

A full list of projects can be found here.