NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer joined New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and City officials in calling on FEMA and related regulatory agencies to act on New Rochelle’s application for funding repairs for damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Despite filing for disaster assistance over 15 months ago, the City has still not received project approval and is now forced to pay for repairs out of pocket to ready beaches and facilities for the 2014 summer season.
In October 2012, the City’s shoreline sustained significant storm damage from Hurricane Sandy, affecting the Municipal Marina and Hudson Park as well as Neptune and Five Islands Parks. At Hudson Park, repairs needed to the concrete sundeck and fallen seawall are estimated at $2.9 million and at the Municipal Marina, dock repairs are estimated at $990K. Without the FEMA reimbursement of 90%, the entire cost will fall on the shoulders of New Rochelle taxpayers.
“New Rochelle has been caught in a game of bureaucratic ping pong since Sandy, and have waited long enough for the federal assurance and reimbursements it needs to move forward with the rebuilding of Municipal Marina and Hudson Park,” said Senator Schumer. “These two New Rochelle treasures suffered serious damage during Hurricane Sandy and are clearly eligible for the disaster relief funding that FEMA approved for Westchester County after the storm; I am urging FEMA not to wait any longer or put New Rochelle through any unnecessary hoops so that the beach and marina can be restored.”
Mayor Noam Bramson said, “These repairs, totaling almost $4 million, are essential to bring back New Rochelle’s shoreline to pre-storm conditions and curtail any further damage. With today marking the beginning of spring and warmer weather just around the corner, we can no longer wait to act. Our residents and park patrons appreciate Senator Schumer’s efforts to expedite FEMA funding.”
“After enduring a curtailed 2013 beach and park season- which also included the cancellation of our annual Memorial Day park event that draws thousands- we have no choice but to press forward with repairs this year,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bill Zimmermann. “We are grateful for Senator Schumer’s support.”
Congressman Eliot Engel issued the following statement in support. “People cannot put their lives on hold as they wait for relief. The fact that this aid is still in question – well over a year after Hurricane Sandy – is shameful. My colleagues and I fought for a vote on this aid, and it is outrageous that bureaucracy now stands in its way. I have reached out to FEMA and demanded that the money needed be released in the most timely manner possible. Help is desperately needed in New Rochelle. We will continue to do anything we can to cut through red tape and get these essential funds to the community.“
Attending today’s event were Senator Charles E. Schumer, Mayor Noam Bramson, New Rochelle City Councilmembers Ivar Hyden, Albert Tarantino and Louis Trangucci; Assistant to the City Manager Omar Small, Parks and Recreation Commissioner William Zimmermann, Public Works Commissioner Alex Tergis, Jay Wegimont from the office of Congressman Eliot Engel and Keith Evans, Project Specialist, New York State Office of Emergency Management.