Schumer: 'They Will Have Protection And They Will Have It Soon'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Staten Island’s shoreline will get some much-needed reinforcements before hurricane season starts.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation will work together on short-term measures to build up the east and south shores of the borough decimated in superstorm Sandy.

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City Councilman Vincent Ignizio said since every storm has the potential for disaster, many Staten Islanders have questioned whether to stay so close to the shore.

Constituent from Tottenville said ‘look, we’re afraid to come back because all of the protection we once had is now gone,'” Ignizio said. “There is fear that exists.”

According to City Councilman James Oddo, the recent nor’eastern proved that Sandy ripped away what little protection Staten Island had from severe weather.

“The flooding was amazing,” Oddo said of the recent storm.

But the Army Corps of Engineers has studied the shorefront to offer a fast-tracked rebuilding plan.

“Today’s announcement should give homeowners a lot of solace,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “They will have protection and they will have it soon.”

Schumer said the Army Corps of Engineers will give its plan to New York City so the city can quickly hire a contractor and start building up the beaches by April, when hurricane season begins.

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Developing and implementing a plan is usually an 18-month process, but the project can be fast-tracked since the city will hire a contractor and then get reimbursed by FEMA, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.

There were already beach rebuilding plans in place for other parts of the city like the Rockaways and Coney Island, but not for Staten Island, said Schumer.

“But because there was no existing plan for Staten Island, no ongoing construction projects, we couldn’t wait,” Schumer said. “In some places there’ll be berms, in some places, there’ll be dunes.”

“Had we not done this, Staten Island would’ve been left out in the cold,” said. Schumer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced Monday that the state is involved with the expedited rebuilding effort.

“Recovering from Sandy, rebuilding our communities, protecting our citizens and strengthening our natural coastal barriers have to be done intelligently and in a coordinated fashion. This work also has to be done as quickly as possible, ensuring that we rebuild smarter and stronger,” Cuomo said in a news release.

According to the governor’s office, at least 75 percent of the funding for the restoration effort will come from FEMA. The funding will also be given priority due to the fast-tracked nature of the project, Cuomo announced.

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