Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino has announced that his township’s beaches will be fully open for this summer’s season. The Supervisor and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney said that they have worked hard with federal officials to ensure that the important coastal hardening initiative would not interfere with the beach season. Further, Santino and King Sweeney said that the extensive interaction between town and federal officials has resulted in the project being entirely federally funded with no direct impact on Hempstead Town taxpayers.
“I am delighted to announce that all Town of Hempstead beaches will be fully open to the public this summer as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conclude coastal protection work on the town’s section of the barrier island before the start of the beach season,” said Santino. “What’s more, as a result of the collaborative efforts of town and federal officials, the project will be entirely funded by the federal government, having no direct impact on Hempstead Town taxpayers.”
Santino and King Sweeney noted that, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Hempstead Town was the first municipality to authorize the U.S. Army Corps’ Long Beach Island Storm Reduction Act in March of 2013. Commencing in the fall of 2016, an Army Corps contractor began construction on the section of the barrier island within the township. The workers have already completed three new stone groins (commonly referred to as jetties), extending from Town Park Point Lookout to the western end of Malibu Beach. The groins mitigate the impact of tidal and wave erosion on the shore. The project will also include the restoration of beachfront. In September, the Army Corps will return to complete the last jetty near Civic Beach. In total, the completed project will include four new groins and the reconstruction of three existing groins along Hempstead Town beaches.
“Hempstead Town’s beaches are going to be ready to greet beachgoers this summer,” stated King Sweeney. “We’ve worked hard to ensure the completion of our beaches before Memorial Day.”
“Our shoreline is the first line of defense between the surging waters of the Atlantic and houses and businesses on the barrier island,” stated Santino. “Working to combat a repeat of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy is critically important.”
The Supervisor and the other town officials noted that they worked very aggressively with Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Peter King to bring about the groundbreaking on the landmark project. Additionally, the town collaborated with federal representatives to minimize the financial impact of the project upon the township’s residents. Originally, Hempstead Town was slated to pay a 10 percent share of the project’s $230 million price tag. Working with Schumer and King, the town succeeded in having the federal government pick up the entire project tab, saving town taxpayers almost $25 million.
“Getting the Army Corps project completed ‘on schedule’ while eliminating the direct financial impact on our town’s taxpayers is a huge victory,” said Santino. “Helping residents with important projects while saving money is a key priority for me as a government official.”
The Town of Hempstead has a long history of protecting barrier island communities, including the building of dunes, planting beach grass, securing a marine dredge and placing a stone and concrete revetment along Point Lookout’s eastern shore. In fact, a December 2012 New York Times article credited the town’s efforts with sparing town residents from greater storm damage during Superstorm Sandy.
“Protecting our neighbors from coastal flooding and tidal surges is an important priority for our government,” concluded Santino. “Ensuring that the project does not have a direct financial cost to local residents will offer the added benefit of saving our taxpayers money. I invite neighbors to come back to the newly re-fortified and hardened beaches this summer.”