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Superstorm Sandy’s Waterfront Damage & Continued Erosion Highlighted the Urgent Need for Coney Island and Seagate Army Corps Project; Beaches & Dunes Along Coney Island Shoreline Were Last Nourished in 1995

Schumer, Nadler, Jeffries Break Ground on Long-Delayed Coney Island T-Groin Protection Project; Lawmakers Fought for Full-Federal Funding to Cover Project Cost & Urged Feds to Get Started on Coney Island Project Quickly


Schumer, Nadler, Jeffries: After Two Long Decades of Waiting, Coney Island Project Will Soon Provide Critical Restoration, Jetties & Beach Replenishment Along Brooklyn Shoreline—Strengthening Coastal Defenses and Complementing City’s Comprehensive Resiliency Plan


U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City officials today broke ground on a long-awaited Coney Island shoreline protection project that will construct a series of T-groin rock jetties between West 37th Street and Brighton Beach. The lawmakers were also joined by local elected officials, including New York City Councilmember Mark Treyger, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, as well as the New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency Daniel Zarrilli, and the NYSDEC Commissioner Joseph Martens. The Coney Island Reach project consists of approximately three miles of storm damage reduction to the densely populated communities and infrastructure along the shoreline of Coney Island. This is a long-standing Army Corps project that will construct a series of T-Groin rock jetties to protect the peninsula and prevent further erosion that has long plagued the shoreline since 1992 and was made significantly worse during Superstorm Sandy. The project is part of the City’s comprehensive citywide resiliency plan, focused on strengthening coastal defenses, upgrading buildings, protecting infrastructure and critical services, and making homes, businesses and neighborhoods safer and more vibrant.

Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler and Jeffries secured $25 million in federal funding for this project in the Superstorm Sandy Supplemental bill, which covers 100% of the project’s total cost. It was the first Project Partnership Agreement approved by the Army Corps for a Sandy recover project in New York. Schumer, Nadler, and Jeffries today announced that today’s groundbreaking means that critical restoration, jetties and beach replenishment along the Coney Island shoreline will soon be underway.

“I am proud to finally break ground on this long-awaited and much-needed Army Corps project in Coney Island, which will replenish and repair this treasured beachfront area from Brighton Beach to Seagate,”said Senator Schumer. “We have the federal dollars, we have the plans and now, we will finally have the protection project. Residents can soon rest easy now that this critical shoreline project is underway as it will finally help make sure Coney Island’s waterfront neighborhoods and beaches are secure from future damage. Congressman Jerry Nadler has long led the charge to realize this dream, and Congressman Jeffries and I are happy to join him today to mark this accomplishment.”

“Especially in the wake of 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 Coney Island’s famous beaches,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler.  “After more than 20 years of working with my fellow Members of Congress, the Army Corps, the State, the City and the Sea Gate Association to make this project a reality, I’m thrilled that we are finally beginning construction on this vital project to protect our shoreline for future generations, and I’m proud to say that the federal government will pay 100% of its cost.”

"Superstorm Sandy decimated our shores and neighborhoods in and around Coney Island. This $25 million project is a meaningful step in the right direction to protect those neighborhoods from future storms and correct long-standing erosion issues that have plagued this area for over 20 years. My colleagues Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, along with Rep. Nadler should be commended for their vital role in making this critical restoration project happen,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

“After Superstorm Sandy, we pledged to rebuild our communities so that they could withstand the next storm and the Sea Gate project is a critical part of that work,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Army Corps will strengthen the infrastructure that protects our coastal neighborhoods and the quality of the shoreline. This is a long overdue project that will benefit Coney Island in the years to come.”

“Today marks another step toward a stronger and more resilient Coney Island and New York City,” saidMayor Bill de Blasio. “Investments like this that strengthen our coastal defenses are a critical part of the comprehensive resiliency plan we’re aggressively implementing in Brooklyn and across the five boroughs. With many measures already in place, we know that we’re much safer now than two years ago when Sandy hit – but there’s much work ahead. I’m grateful to our federal partners for their unwavering commitment.”

“The US Army Corps of Engineers has signaled, through the approval of this T-Groin project, their commitment to the Coney Island and Sea Gate communities in the effort to help them rebuild. Recovering is only half of the effort needed to restore our homes and businesses; we must also place an emphasis on preparedness, so that we are equipped to deal with such events in the future. Our effort over the course of the next year will focus on stonework to reinforce existing storm surge control infrastructure along the shore of Lower New York Bay, then use sand to create a buffer zone in vulnerable areas along Coney Island Creek. For only a small cost, paid for entirely with federal funding from the Sandy Relief Bill, our area will see a very high payout in terms of safety and mitigation of damage. I applaud the United States Government and all its partners at the state, local and neighborhood levels who have worked tirelessly to make this project a reality, and pledge to stand behind their continuing efforts to storm-proof the southwest Brooklyn region,” said Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny.


“On behalf of the residents of Sea Gate, I am excited and relieved that this project is moving forward. This will greatly improve the peninsula’s ability to withstand future storms and minimize the impact on nearby homes. The devastating effects of Sandy showed the need for greater resiliency measures along Sea Gate’s waterfront, so my thanks to  Senator Schumer, Rep. Jeffries, Rep. Nadler  and the Army Corps of Engineers for making this a priority. This was an unprecedented storm that will require unprecedented cooperation on all levels of government, and this $25 million investment is a vital piece of the ongoing recovery. I will continue to work with my colleagues in federal government and Mayor de Blasio to ensure that our waterfront communities are adequately protected in the face of the next major storm,” said Councilmember Treyger.


"I am pleased that we've begun work on this important project in Sea Gate, which is another example of the excellent coordination with our partners in the New York State DEC and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation," New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen said. "This work will benefit the entire Coney Island area by improving the functioning of the existing coastal storm risk management project and increasing its resiliency against future storms."


"The Sea Gate project is an integral component of storm risk reduction along the Coney Island coast.  This final phase of the Coney Island project will ensure the Governor's goal of reducing storm risk while increasing public recreational benefits to Coney Island communities," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation appreciates the strong support of its partners, the US Army Corps of Engineers and New York City, in advancing this project to construction."


"Hurricane Sandy highlighted the city's vulnerabilities to coastal storms and a changing climate.  That's why today is such a great day for Sea Gate and Coney Island as we embark on the construction of vital t-groins and beach nourishment that will reduce flooding risk," said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency. "This project is a key element in the City’s multilayered climate resiliency program and we are thrilled to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make this a reality.  Thanks to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressmen Nadler and Jeffries and our entire delegation, the City is receiving the support it needs to continue building a stronger, more resilient New York."


The Coney Island Reach project, which extends from West 37th Street to Brighton Beach, consists of approximately 3 miles of beachfront and will construct four stand-alone T-groin structures, one rock spur off the existing West 37th Street groin, additional stone armoring of the existing Norton Point dike, and removal of beach fill currently accumulated in front of the Gravesend Bay bulkheads, and dredging sand from the nearby Federal navigation channel in Rockaway inlet. The beach fill will be placed along approximately 2,000 linear feet of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline within the new T-groin field.


In 2012, Schumer and Gillibrand presented a number of projects authorized by Congress, including the Coney Island project, to the Army Corps of Engineers that must be started quickly. In March 2013, it was announced that, after months of pressing, the lawmakers successfully urged the feds to fully pick up the tab for the Coney Island Reach project. The Sandy Relief bill that was signed into law required that the feds pick up 65% of the project cost, but that amount could be increased if the projects met the criteria of ‘on going construction,’ and are updated to make them stronger, more resilient and offer better protection against storms. Therefore, the Coney Island project is eligible for full federal funding, with not a single dollar to be paid by local tax dollars. In September, Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler and Jeffries announced the $25.2 million Army Corps contract to H&L Contracting LLC.


In fall of 2013, Sandy emergency funds were used to place nearly 600,000 cubic yards of sand at Coney Island from Corbin Place to W.37th Street to restore the project to its authorized design profile. In May of 2014, the Army Corps approved a Project Partnership to move forward with the repairs and restoration. The Project Partnership Agreement, a legally binding agreement, describes the responsibilities of the restoration project between the Army Corps and the NYC Parks and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.