Jessie Specht is not a sailor but in her eight years of living on Walnut Road in Inwood she spends a portion of her day checking tide times, moon phases and the weather because when it is high tide and the moon is in its full phase and with or without a storm her street and others in the community flood.
Specht was one of roughly 20 Inwood residents who spent at least 70 minutes listening to Town of Hempstead and Nassau County officials, along with outside engineers, discuss a plan that aims to reduce the high-tide flooding that occurs in an area that encompasses Bayswater Boulevard, Davis Avenue, Chestnut, Maple and Walnut roads and Peppe Drive.
The plan, which includes road-raising and installing check valves is expected to cost $2.7 million, was presented at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence on Feb. 28. The project’s funding is part of the federal money coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development being given to New York State’s Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery that was established in 2013 to coordinate rebuilding after Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Sandy.
"I do like the idea because I’m tired of following the moon and the tides after working a long day,” said Specht after the initial presentation ended and residents began looking at the engineering maps. She added that where she lived in Baldwin a similar project was undertaken.
Specht, like many of her neighbors, who voiced concerns about the safety of their vehicles, is hoping that when the work is completed, hopefully by the end of this year, that having to move their cars to higher ground to avoid the flooding comes to an end.
Based on the prepared report heavy flooding occurs after high tides and storms, the asphalt roads in the area have deteriorated, curbs and sidewalks show severe cracks and accessibility required by the Americans with Disabilities Act is woefully out of date.
“There are a lot of moving part and we’ve made a great deal of headway,” said Douglas Tuman, commissioner of the town’s engineering department. “We are at the 75 percent design mark. We need buy-in from the community.”
The work will intrude on resident property, the engineers said, depending on how much road raising will be done on the specific streets. Many of the properties will have varying sizes of drain installed and plans are on the drawing board to ensure the work is being done on a rotating basis.
New concrete curbing, grass utility areas, concrete sidewalk, driveway aprons and ADA compliant concrete handicap ramps will be installed. The officials noted that restoration of all property will be replaced “in-kind” as it was before. Plans include the installation of water quality units within a storm drainage system to help in eliminating waterway pollution.
“It will be an improvement, it’ll be a vast improvement,” said Tuman, who along with the other officials and engineers, stressed that the drainage upgrades “won’t solve everything.”
Fran Alfaro, a 42-year resident of Inwood lives on Peppe Drive, but said her portion of the street doesn’t flood after high tide. “I sympathize with these people and I’m hoping that this will help,” she said.
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