BY CHERYL SLAVIN
The Stony Point NY Rising Reconstruction Committee held its final public engagement meeting last week, thus completing the mission it had set out upon almost a year ago: to identify and assess disaster damage sustained over the course of three high intensity storms and come up with solutions for the Town to “build back stronger.” At the final meeting the committee reported on its findings, recommendations, and successes.
In the week prior to the meeting the committee had traveled to Albany and learned that Stony Point was indeed going to receive at least $3 million dollars to fund projects designed to improve emergency preparedness, repair storm damage and strengthen the Town’s defenses against future disasters. The committee had submitted a 148 page document outlining the extent of the damage sustained, the assessment of the Town’s current defenses against disaster, and the proposed projects aimed at mitigating damage and preventing it in the future.
Public input played a crucial part in both the risk and need assessment portions of the application. Over the course of several engagement meetings, as well as through online communications, the committee kept Stony Pointers informed about its progress as well as solicited detailed feedback on all of its proposals and recommendations. The final list of priority projects includes:
- Letchworth Village Disaster Recovery and Communications Center, to be located in the RHO Building and which would, in the event of emergency, serve both as a first responder communications hub and as a temporary refuge for displaced residents (cost approximately $800,000);
- Stony Point Center Retrofit, an upgrade of the current facility to include an emergency generator and storm water remediation so that it can continue to serve as a long term shelter for residents whose homes are rendered unfit by disaster (approximate cost $200,000);
- Shoreline Protection Against Erosion and Wave Action, both for River and Beach Roads, which would improve the jetties and add a quay to protect against severe storm surge and wave action (approximate cost $1.7 million);
- Hardening of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, essentially flood-proofing doors, windows and submersible equipment to protect against water infiltration during storms (cost approximately $1.6 million);
- Rehabilitation of Wastewater Interceptors, to prevent storm water from overwhelming the sewer system by improving manholes and vents (approximate cost $125,000).
Gurran Kane, co-chair of the committee, told the Rockland County Times that while all the projects are critical, he would make the shoreline protection a top priority. Kane also explained that the projects would be prioritized in part by weighing a cost/benefit analysis. The total expenditure for the proposed projects tops out at a little over $4 million, more than the grant amount. However, the committee intends to seek additional “green shoreline grants,” among other funding, to complete all the necessary work.
The proposals are now in the hands of the Regional Director for the New York Rising Program, Laurie DeBord, who will make the ultimate decision on which projects Stony Point must undertake in order to receive the 3 million dollar grant.
In addition to the proposed projects, the committee also recommended the rehabilitation of the Cedar Pond Brook interceptor sewer line as a “featured” project. Its $15 million price tag renders this project ineligible under the NY Rising guidelines, but its necessity drove the committee to include it in the application as something that ultimately must be addressed.
“The committee has done its job,” Kane stated. “We’ve identified projects and completed the planning stages, and we are pleased and proud with the results.” The next step, after final approval by the state, will be to implement the projects, a task that will fall to the local government. Kane does not know if another committee will be formed for that purpose, but he hopes, as do all of the committee members, to continue to work closely with the Town throughout the implementation stage and offer what guidance, feedback and assistance it can.
States Luanne Konopko, former Councilwoman and current committee member, “We are really hoping to see through what we started.”
The complete application and plan can be accessed online athttp://stormrecovery.ny.gov/