By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Coney Island shoreline, which was battered by Hurricane Sandy nearly 18 months ago, is going to get a much-needed fix-up, according to Senator Charles Schumer, who announced on May 7 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a Project Partnership Agreement to move forward with critical repairs and emergency beach restoration.
The restoration is part of a longstanding Corps of Engineers’ project that dates back to 1992 with the goal of constructing a series of rock jetties to protect the peninsula and prevent further erosion, Schumer said.
Schumer made the announcement jointly with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Jeffries represents parts of Coney Island. Nadler represented Coney Island until 2012, when redistricting cut the community out of his district.
The four elected officials secured federal funding for the project, ensuring that no local funds would have to be used, Schumer said.
The federal project will help construct rock jetties and provide beach replenishment for the shoreline from West 37th Street to Norton Point. The work is scheduled to begin after a contract is awarded in September.
“This project is instrumental in rebuilding the beachfront in Brooklyn that was damaged as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Not only will this Army Corps project help alleviate the problems that arose as a result of the storm, but it will also help to strengthen Brooklyn’s waterfront communities, like Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach and Sea Gate, against similar damage in the event of a future storm,” Schumer said.
“With Superstorm Sandy’s devastating impact on Brooklyn’s shorelines, it is clear that we must move quickly to repair and improve our coastal infrastructure so that New Yorkers are better positioned to weather future storms. This Army Corps project is an important step towards rebuilding better and protecting Coney Island from future disasters,” Gillibrand said.
“Especially since Coney Island is still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, this beach erosion and replenishment project is truly critical to protect the area’s residents from future storm damage and erosion, and to safeguard our famous beaches. Even though, after redistricting in 2012, Coney Island was drawn out of my congressional district, I have continued to fight alongside our two Senators and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to make sure that Coney Island has the federal funds it needs to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy,” Nadler said.
Jeffries said Nadler had worked for 20 years to get the beaches restored. “The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy is indicative of the desperate need to restore and strengthen the South Brooklyn shoreline and surrounding infrastructure. I applaud Rep. Nadler for his relentless commitment to getting this project underway for the last 20 years and I am pleased that funding from the Sandy relief compensation package will be used to construct T-groin structures, replenish the Coney Island beachfront and mitigate damage from future storms,” Jeffries said.
In the fall of 2013, emergency funds were used to place nearly 600,000 cubic yards of sand at Coney Island from Corbin Place to West 37th Street to restore the project to its authorized design profile.
The Coney Island Reach project, which extends from West 37th Street to Brighton Beach, consists of approximately three miles of beachfront that provides storm damage reduction to the densely populated communities and infrastructure located along the shoreline of Coney Island, according to the Army Corps’ website. The beaches and dunes were last replenished in 1995, Schumer said.
In 2012, Schumer and Gillibrand met with Army Corps of Engineers and laid out a series of projects already authorized by congress, including the Coney Island project, and urged that he work begin as quickly as possible.