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Bay Side of Rockaway Getting 'Fair' Share of Leftover Sandy Cash, City Says

By Katie Honan | March 22, 2017 3:59pm
 The Thursby Basin project will now be up for federal funding using money leftover from the rebuilding of the boardwalk in Rockaway.
The Thursby Basin project will now be up for federal funding using money leftover from the rebuilding of the boardwalk in Rockaway.
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Parks Department

ROCKAWAY PARK — The Parks Department has added two new projects to the list of plans it would like to pay for with federal money left over from the construction of the new boardwalk, in a bid to give equal cash to the bay side of the peninsula, officials said. 

​The city has given the green light to seven total projects out of an original list of nine across the peninsula that focused on resiliency and rebuilding parks destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

The first five projects — Bayswater Park, Edgemere Raised Shoreline, resiliency measures at Rockaway Community Park, the rebuilding of an operational headquarters and recreational parks along Shore Front Parkway — were announced previously.

But this week, the Parks Department added two more: the construction of a park on Beach 88th Street and Beach Channel Drive and a new park along Thursby Basin for federal funding consideration.

"We made room to add two more to the total," Sarah Neilson, the chief of policy and long-range planning for the Parks Department, adding that the extra money for the new projects came from slashing the budget for their planned new maintenance facility in half, from $30 million to $15 million.

The total amount of money left from the boardwalk rebuilding fund is approximately $120 million. The estimated cost of the seven submitted projects is $136 million, and the city is expected to bridge the gap in funding, officials said. 

"We wanted to be fair across the peninsula and also acknowledge the way that we can contribute to resiliency projects on the bay side" of the peninsula, Neilson added.

The projects will be paid for under a new Federal Emergency Management Agency program that uses excess money from larger projects — but there's a looming deadline, parks officials said.

All of the items up for funding consideration have to be submitted to the feds before the $480 million boardwalk renovations are completed — a current deadline that's set for Memorial Day.

"We're trying to get all of these things done to capitalize off the efficiency of the boardwalk," said Rebecca Fischman, a policy adviser at the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. 

The projects will be submitted to FEMA by state officials on behalf of the city, and the Parks Department expects to have more information by the summer.