Rockville Centre’s Mill River will be the beneficiary of $125 million in federal grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild By Design contest, which aims to improve the area’s infrastructure to better prepare for the next Hurricane Sandy-like storm, it was announced on Monday.
The winning design, “Living with the Bay,” was proposed by the Interboro Team, a collaboration between Dutch and American designers intent on making Long Island’s South Shore more resistant to future storms. The first part of the project focuses on Mill River, which flows through Rockville Centre, East Rockaway and Oceanside. The project would transform Mill River into a “green-blue” corridor that stores and filters water, provides public space and creates room for new urban development.
“Nassau County was one of the areas that was hardest hit by Sandy and continues to be one of the most vulnerable areas in the region,” said Georgeen Theodore, the principal at Interboro Partners, a New York City-based architectural and urban design firm. “So we’re very happy that the research and design that our team developed will receive funding, because it will reduce that in the future.”
Many of the specifics of the plan are still being worked out, but there will be direct benefits to Rockville Centre. Part of the project calls for redoing the parking lots at Centennial Park and Tighe Field, creating cisterns beneath them to collect and store excess rainwater, which would be used to water the fields.
The Interboro Team was one of 10 finalists competing for a portion of $4 billion in federal funds dedicated to Rebuild By Design by HUD. Details are still being worked out, but Interboro would most likely be supervising the work with HUD oversight.
The team acknowledged in its presentation that there was no single “silver bullet” solution to the Island’s periodic flooding in major storms. A surge barrier would stop tidal surges, but the area would still be susceptible to flooding from heavy rainfall.
The multi-faceted plan also includes:
n Sluice gates along inland canals, streams and rivers that would remain open most of the time but would close during a storm with a heavy tidal surge.