More than 100 residents of five neighboring communities came together with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Grid and the Town of Hempstead to discuss the effects of Hurricane Sandy in their neighborhoods at a community forum in Bellmore last week.
Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, hosted the meeting on Nov. 20 at the Bellmore Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Bedford Avenue. The forum focused on the Bellmore, Merrick, Wantagh, Seaford and Freeport residents in attendance –– many, if not most, of whom suffered damage to their flooded homes, Denenberg said.
The legislator invited FEMA, National Grid and town representatives to answer residents’ questions and provide insight into how those with flooded homes could receive future assistance.
Jessica Tauber, a legislative aide to Denenberg, said he decided to organize the forum after surveying damage in his district after the storm. The legislator said residents reported three to eight feet of water in their homes, and without electricity, they could not begin to pump out the water. In many areas, Tauber said, he was also aware of concerns beyond flooding on streets such as Shore Road in Bellmore, Wantagh Avenue in Wantagh and Whaleneck Drive in Merrick, where Denenberg said fuel oil tanks were overturned in the storm.
Many of the residents at the meeting live south of Merrick Road, according to Tauber. She said they people might have a new perspective on the steps that need to be taken to prevent future flood damage to their homes.
“For many residents, it became clear that more permanent flood mitigation measures are needed to protect homes, and much of the meeting focused on insurance issues and the possibility of raising homes to avoid flooding in the event of future storms,” Tauber said.
Officials spent much of the evening answering individual questions, in addition to discussing the possible avenues for receiving FEMA funds to enable residents to raise their homes.