BY MICHAEL RICONDA
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services released a list of resiliency grant projects on February 6 which are set for final review and approval by FEMA, and Clarkstown’s Klein Avenue Levee is among the chosen projects.
Clarkstown will receive $3.46 million in grant money from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which will provide a 75 percent reimbursement for project costs. Clarkstown was selected among over 1,000 applicants and is now in the final stages of approval.
Built in 1975, the Klein Avenue Levy is instrumental in controlling flood waters along the Hackensack River. However, it effectiveness has diminished in recent years with the rising of the river’s flood elevation and severe weather events, leading to the flooding of homes and businesses when the water overtops.
Clarkstown Director of Environmental Control Luke Kalarickal explained that as it stands now, the levy does not comply with FEMA regulations.
“The new one needs a three foot seawall,” Kalarickal said.
Kalarickal added that an improved wwall will lower flood insurance costs for 30 to 50 Clarkstown homes affected by flooding along the Hackensack.
The town will likely receive the funds following the project’s approval by the state DEC, Board of Engineers and Rockland Drainage Agency. After they are approved and begin the bidding process, they can bill FEMA for their share of the costs.
In total, FEMA distributed $41.2 million in grants as part of the program. Other projects include a new weather detection system at SUNY Albany, flood walls in Troy and Amsterdam, wetland restoration in Suffolk County and water supply protection in Cobleskill.