By Naeisha Rose
Ecological restoration will finally come to the Sunset Cove section of Jamaica Bay in Broad Channel now that Mayor Bill de Blasio has set aside an additional $7 million in funding.
The mayor’s total matches the money brought in by the Interior Department’s National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation funding to finish the project, doubling the budget.
The cove was decimated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and designs to improve the park, shorefront and wetlands were completed in May 2016. However, the bids to finish the project were twice the $7 million wildlife grant and DEC funding to repair the five acres of salt marsh and seven acres of coastal woodland, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.
With the $14 million secured for the project, there will be removal of the contaminated fill across the site with clean sand and the installation of a pedestrian pathway along a perimeter berm, according to de Blasio’s office.
The sand and the pathway will provide storm protection and access to the cove, according to the mayor’s office. In addition, the Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers, with support from the American Littoral Society, will contribute marsh-planning efforts. The Littoral Society is a conservation group that educates people about marine and habitat life.
Representatives of Sunset Cove were thrilled about the funding.
“Sunset Cove is such an incredible victory for this community, and I’m honored to have helped facilitate the process to where construction is set to begin next year,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach). “This community resource will not only show off the natural beauty of our water and its ecosystem, but will create the next generation of environmentalists to preserve and protect it. Thanks to everyone who’s been working so hard to make the cove a reality.”
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (D-Ozone Park) was happy about what the restoration would do for the community.
“Sunset Cove overlooks the shorefront and has great potential for both the residents and visitors of Broad Channel,” Ulrich said. “This project will remove contaminated fill, provide much-needed access to the park, and restore the natural habitat for fish, birds and wildlife. It will be a great addition for our community once it is completed.”
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) was ecstatic about the project no longer being stalled.
“Any opportunity taken to improve an area ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, in which the project has a direct benefit to the people and the environment, is a positive step forward,” Addabbo said.
The project is expected to be completed in 2019.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose