Grant Awarded for Shorefront Park living shoreline
Over $2 million in a New York Department of State Division of Coastal Resources grant, under the local waterfront revitalization program, has been awarded to the Village of Patchogue for the construction of a living shoreline and 1,200-foot timber boardwalk at Shorefront Park from Ocean to Rider avenues with access to the beach.
After completion, the project will be monitored for success as the largest living shoreline project on the South Shore Estuary Reserve and will also serve as a pilot project for all of Long Island.
In addition to the $2.189 million, the village has also been awarded a total of $314,640 from New York State for the parks portion of the project including walkways, benches and a kayak launch, as well as $45,000 and $30,000 from the NYS Department of Conservation for habitat restoration and to expand the village’s wastewater treatment plant.
Marian Russo, Community Development Agency executive director and writer of the grant, said she was shocked last week when she received the news. The village was awarded every grant they applied to for the living shoreline project. The grants, she explained, will supplement and match the $5 million anonymous donation made back in 2015 for park restoration, allowing the project to be at no cost to the taxpayer.
The entire project, she said, will cost about $4 million, including the over $200,000 granted for engineering costs for the design last year. In addition, Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) pitched in $250,000 in county funding to address Little Creek’s flooding.
“The entire project won’t come out of taxpayers’ pockets,” said Russo, excited about the project ahead. “We still have to complete the plans and get approvals for permits, but we are moving quickly now.” The project, she said, could be ready to go within the next year or so, with a two-year construction goal.
“I didn’t think we were going to get it with all the competition out there, but this grant is important because it is addressing climate change. I think the reason we received the funding is because a project of this magnitude is important for the future of Long Island. Everyone will be looking at this to see if it is a reliable technique to protect [us],” she said of the selection process.
Shorefront Park, Russo said, is a seven-acre park, known to endure severe flooding, as seen during Superstorm Sandy. Sandy, she said, caused considerable damage to not only the park but nearby homes and village infrastructure. Living shorelines, she explained, have been proven successful as a resiliency measure and are anticipated to become a more frequent technique used to mitigate flooding.
The project would take the existing and failing about-50-year-old bulkhead, which was installed as an erosion prevention measure but proved to be ineffective, and replace it with a line of rock sill structures parallel to the shoreline. In addition, a 50-foot-wide planted swath and sand dunes would be implemented to further absorb the wave action, and an elevated walkway along the shoreline with benches and shaded structures would be added to protect the scenic resource.
Unlike typical structural rock projects that work similarly to bulkheads, Russo said the living shoreline would allow for bay water to come up with tidal cycles and exist in a created habitat for vegetation and wildlife.
Kevin Walsh, managing director of VHB Engineering, which was tasked with the engineering, has the experience, said Russo, with living shorelines and feels this is a proper application site to address climate change.
“This is also creating a great place for residents and visitors. Everyone wants to live in communities with recreation and we have done so much for our Main Street, we needed to make this happen for our parks, too,” she said, explaining the twofold project addressing the shorefront and beautifying the park.
Kevin McAllister, founder of Defend H20, said he was happy to hear about the project and even happier to hear it was funded. “In the last couple of years, I have been alarmed by how many hardened structures that are going in throughout the Great South Bay and Long Island; this is a very good contrast and very positive. We need coastal management and to keep our edges soft,” he said.
Business Improvement District executive director Dennis Smith agreed. “This is great news. We have been looking to leverage the money from the donation because we didn’t have enough to do everything that needs to be done down there,” he said. “I congratulate Marian on her heavy lifting.”
Mayor Paul Pontieri also anticipates the overhaul at Shorefront Park. “This is very exciting. Marian was tremendously accurate in her grant writing and the fact that we have proved ourselves over the years with our work on Main Street,” he said. “We do what we say we are going to do, and the work of many has guaranteed us success.”
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