SOUTH BEACH — The planned seven-mile seawall along Staten Island's coastline to protect the borough from future storms should also get an expanded promenade on top with space for food kiosks and lookouts, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
Construction on the project is expected to start in 2019 and finish in 2022.
Cuomo revealed his hopes for the extended promenade Tuesday before signing a bill allocating $151 million from the state for the federal Army Corps of Engineers storm prevention project that already includes a mixture of buried seawall, armored levee and floodwall stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach.
"Why don't we really think about this as an attraction rather than just as a functional device," said Cuomo. "Let's build something that enhances the island and enhances all the homes that are looking at the promenade."
The existing Army Corps plan calls for the demolition of the existing 2.5-mile Franklin D. Roosevelt boardwalk, which would be replace it with a nearly five-mile stretch on top of the seawall.
Cuomo's new addition would extend the new boardwalk to seven miles, widen it and add amenities to potentially turn it into a tourist attraction.
"We don't want just a walkway for seven miles that frankly is going to be a wasted opportunity," said Cuomo.
Cuomo's new plan also calls for the use of land taken over by the state in the buyout program after Hurricane Sandy as a nature preserve of wetlands that links to the promenade, Cuomo said.
The state will hold design meetings through the borough during the rest of this year to get ideas on how residents would like the promenade to look, Cuomo said.
The Army Corps released a draft of its flood prevention plan with the seawall in 2015 and started its design phase in January after it secured $2 million in federal funding for field surveys and construction. The rest of the $613 million plan will be funded through federal funds, Cuomo said.
Cuomo's announcement came just ahead of the start of hurricane season, June 1, and is one of the largest measures planned for the borough to make it more resilient from future storms after Hurricane Sandy decimated many neighborhoods in 2012.