Island Park gets $33 million for drainage system

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State and Island Park officials have acquired $33 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to upgrade the village’s drainage system in September to help strengthen the village’s flood defenses.

Construction will start on Suffolk, Hastings, Deal, Radcliffe and Quebec roads and will encompass road rehabilitation and reconstruction, along with installation of tidal flex valves along the waterway, which will help limit property damage caused by floods. Additionally, drainpipes will protect homes and businesses throughout the village.

Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty said the current drains are not equipped to handle severe flood waters caused by high tides and nor’easters that have forced the closure of local schools in recent years. McGinty thanked U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Kathleen Rice and the Village of Island Park board of trustees for their assistance in acquiring the funds.

“This money is a continuation of our road to recovery since the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy,” McGinty said. “Nothing can stop an Island Parker, and the proof is our continued revitalization, renewal and renaissance that is happening in our great village.”

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach who is running for Nassau County district attorney, said he fought for the funding in 2017 when he showed a photo board of severe flooding at Island Park’s Francis Hegarty Elementary School at a hearing in Albany.

“Eight years after Superstorm Sandy ravaged our communities, constant flooding still plagues Island Park. This project is imperative so that people can do normal things, like walk their kids to school instead of being handed on a human chain through water,” Kaminsky said. “This substantial investment in the local infrastructure is necessary, and I’m glad it’s finally moving forward.”

The “human chain” was a reference to instances when standing water after floods forced parents to hand their children to firefighters through their car windows to send them to school safely.

The project has already gone out to bid and is expected to be completed in 30 months.

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