Staten Island Levee project secures funding, will move forward
Rendering of original sea wall plan via Governor Cuomo’s office
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, United States Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and United States Congressman Max Rose announced today that funding has been secured for the Staten Island Levee project. The news gives the green light for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to build a long-awaited 5.3 mile sea wall that would protect waterfront communities in Staten Island from future storms.
As per the announcement, a Project Partnership Aggreement (PPA) was successfully brokered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York State to secure funding for the $615 million project project and ensure that a $400 million federal contribution is unlikely to be re-allocated if the federal government declares a national emergency on the southern border.
The Staten Island Levee project is made up of a series of interconnected levees, berms, and seawalls that stretch from Fort Wadsworth to Great Kills on Staten Island’s East Shore. The system was designed to withstand a 300-year storm, and will defend against the growing threat of sea-level rise and storm surge, dramatically strengthening the area’s resilience which was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The project is projected to reduce damages to the area by $30 million per year over 50 years.
Staten Island is uniquely vulnerable to flooding; when Hurricane Sandy hit, the borough had the highest percentage of New York City residents living within a floodplain, with rising waters affecting 16 percent of the borough, or 75,651 residents. 2,499 homes and businesses were damaged, with a FEMA assessment of $269.16 million in damage done to Staten Island alone.
USACE, who will be managing the design and construction the project, has already completed a feasibility study, conducted geotech and groundwater monitoring and begun final project design. The project is scheduled to break ground in 2020 and expects full completion in 2024.
In addition to $400 million in federal funds, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation is contributing $150 million; New York City is contributing $65 million in City Capital funds.
As 6sqft previously reported, Gov. Cuomo announced plans for the project in 2017, including an elevated promenade that could support a variety activities like outdoor concerts, cultural festivals, beer and food tastings, as well as marathons and other community events. Plans also included the construction of flood resilient wetlands in Oakwood Beach, where the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery previously purchased more than 300 properties after Hurricane Sandy.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said following the announcement, “This innovative project will protect Staten Islanders from future devastating storms, enhance access to the shore, create thriving wetlands and bring peace of mind to the diverse communities that live along the coastline. Today’s agreement will allow New York to move forward with this critical resiliency project, which will ensure vulnerable communities have the resources they need to build back stronger after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and better prepare for the next 100-year storm.”
Mayor Bill De Blasio said, “This is a huge win for the people of Staten Island, who will be better protected from future storm. It is critical that we invest in the resiliency of our city in the face of climate change. I want to thank the US Army Corps of Engineers, and my colleagues in Congress, Senator Schumer and Congressman Rose, as well as Governor Cuomo, for working together to make this happen for our constituents.”
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