By Naeisha Rose
With the backing of FEMA, the mayor announced Sunday on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy that the Rockaways would receive a $145 million investment for seven resiliency and recreational projects to help protect the area from future storms and improve quality-of-life issues that have been plaguing the peninsula.
After the Rockaway Beach boardwalk was reconstructed with money from FEMA, the mayor quickly asked to have the $120 million left over from the $480 million that was dedicated to the project redirected to other initiatives, according to nyc.gov.
The mayor’s office, Queens Borough President Melinda Katza and both public and private sector entities supplemented the seven projects with an additional $25 million so that construction can get underway even faster, according to the mayor
After learning of the needs of his constituents on the peninsula from their elected officials, the mayor was able to get FEMA to approve development projects at Bayswater Park, Edgemere, Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway Community Park, Beach 88th Street Park, Thursby Park and the NYC Parks headquarters for the Rockaways and Broad Channel, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Bayswater will have a berm installed along the waterfront to manage stormwater and a sports field, play area, public plaza and refurbished comfort station as well as access to kayaks, he said. The shoreline around the Edgemere neighborhood will be raised and include vegetated berm and bulkheads to mitigate coastal flooding, according to his administration.
Shore Front Parkway will have six new recreational facilities to replace what was lost during Hurricane Sandy.
The Rockaway Community Park will be elevated in the east and western edges of the park, and native wetlands will be restored to become a natural buffer between the park and Jamaica Bay.
Beach 88th will get a new waterfront park that has a seawall, while wetlands will be re-established to mitigate tidal flooding at the Rockaway Beach neighborhood. There will also be play and seating areas as well as kayak access.
Thursby Basin will be transformed from a vacant lot into a park with a seawall with resilient vegetation along the water to protect against tidal flooding. It will also include sport courts, play equipment and a kayak launch.
To respond to disasters faster the NYC Parks operations headquarters for the Rockaways and Broad Channel will be elevated to keep it protected from future flooding to ensure it is a response center in case of a future storm.
“Superstorm Sandy devastated communities, especially in neighborhoods in the Rockaways, and the risks posed by future storms remain high,” Katz said. “These seven resilience projects are critical measures toward hardening our neighborhoods and protecting Queens families from future storms and flooding.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose