BY MICHAEL RICONDA
WEST NYACK – State and local officials gathered at the West Nyack Hamlet Green Park on March 7 to announce $9.8 million in federal funds which the Town of Clarkstown will use for storm recovery and long-term resiliency projects.
The grants will be used for improvements and wetlands restorations to West Nyack Hamlet Green Park and updates to the Klein Avenue levee, which is meant to control flooding along the Hackensack River. The Hackensack grant amounts to $3.5 million, while the Hamlet Green grant is $1 million.
There will also be a $2.3 million grant for road improvements including handicapped accessibility, curbs, drainage and street lighting along Strawtown and Sickletown Roads.
The remaining $3 million, obtained through the New York Rising Community Reconstruction program, will be spent on projects which have yet to be planned. The town expects to complete the planning process within a few months.
According to Town Supervisor Alex Gromack, the flood projects have been in the works for years. However, the federal grants will greatly enhance the ability for the town to speedily implement the plans.
“Close to $10 million goes a long way to fast-tracking a lot of important flood projects that have plagued the hamlet of West Nyack for decades and decades,” Gromack said.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who assisted with the Act’s passage in the House of Representatives, stated the grants were secured through a cooperative effort from all levels of government. Lowey stressed the difficulty of passing the measure in a sharply divided Congress.
“We had to do a lot of persuading, but we got this $60 billion in aid passed and it ended up being a bipartisan effort, although it was really, really tough,” Lowey said.
The grants were provided through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which was passed in January 2013. Its enactment allows the distribution of $60 billion in federal aid to Sandy and Irene-affected communities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other impacted states.