Schnirman added that there would be discussions about how to protect the city from future natural disasters, including the areas on Reynolds Channel, the beachfront and the boardwalk, possibly with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He said it was too early to say how long such an initiative would take to complete.
“Our goal is not to get back to where we were,” he said. “Our goal is to be stronger, safer and smarter.”
State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg also said that he expected the federal government to cover most of the costs associated with the storm and rebuilding the city’s infrastructure. Sandy destroyed sections of the boardwalk and damaged the city’s sewer and water system and other infrastructure.
It is unclear how long it would take to rebuild the boardwalk, Schnirman said.
“We’re talking about making the city better than what it was,” Weisenberg said. “This was an act of God, but the reality is, we hope to get the funding necessary to make the infrastructure better and stronger.”
In 2006, Weisenberg played a pivotal role in the creation of a $100 million Army Corps plan that called for raising the elevation of the beach to protect against a storm surge, which drew the ire of those who said it would ruin ocean views. The City Council unanimously rejected the plan, saying that it was too costly and did not address potential flooding in Reynolds Channel.
Weisenberg said he expects discussion of reviving the plan, or something similar, to start again in the near future. “We have to better protect the barrier beach, not only for the people but for the environment and the mainland,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get the federal government to reconsider the … grant that we were going to get for that project before the city voted it down.”