Environment / Jobs

Public hearing on shore protection set for Jan. 15

Care of Penn/OLIN

An artist’s sketch shows what the Hunts Point waterfront could look like with federal and city funding to create jobs and protect the shoreline.

The Point CDC will host a public meeting on Thursday, Jan. 15, to update the community on the federal government and the city’s plans to protect Hunts Point from future storms and flooding. The meeting is part of a citywide campaign to inform residents of some of the city’s low-lying neighborhoods of the initiatives slated to take place.

Last summer, the federal government announced it would provide $20 million to implement Hunts Point Lifelines, a series of protective measures recommended by a team of planners. Their plan includes creating a new electric grid, new local construction jobs to help build infrastructure and a pier for emergency vessels on the East River.

In December, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city would invest in resiliency and infrastructure to help support businesses in the areas that were affected by Hurricane Sandy, such as Hunts Point, Coney Island, Staten Island and the Rockaways. Among the initiatives are a new program to help small businesses better prepare for emergencies.

The mayor announced that the city would allocate $25 million it says will benefit over 200 businesses in and around the food distribution center on the Hunts Point waterfront.

Elected officials and environmental advocates representing Hunts Point expressed their excitement with the mayors promise to augment the federal financing with city funding. Michael Brotchner, executive director of Sustainable South Bronx said he was “very encouraged by the City’s new commitment to the resiliency of Hunts Point, a neighborhood whose businesses and residents are extremely vulnerable to major weather events. This investment, in combination with HUD’s support through the Rebuild by Design process, will promote the implementation of measures that the community truly needs.”

“I am especially glad to see significant investments being proposed for resiliency measures for Hunts Point,” said Congressman Jose E. Serrano. “As the region’s primary food hub, and a winner of Rebuild by Design funds, these additional investments will help revitalize the community and protect the markets,” including families and small businesses in the Bronx.

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said the Hunts Point Lifelines project and the mayor’s promise to inject additional funding would “better protect our community and the livelihood of all New Yorker’s against another disaster.”

“We see an opportunity with the city’s funding match to further develop a comprehensive strategy for Hunts Point and the South Bronx,” said Kellie Terry Sepulveda, executive director of The Point. The $45 million in promised funding may help create “living wage jobs, a cleaner environment,” while protecting the neighborhood from future disasters, she said.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at The Point, 940 Garrison Avennue.

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