Town Of Hempstead And GOSR Announce Green Infrastructure Project To Prevent Flooding And Improve Water Quality

Issued by: Town of Hempstead, Office of Supervisor Laura Gillen

Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery Provides $700,000 to Support Community Infrastructure and Environmental Project

(MERRICK, NY) The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen and Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney announced that the Town of Hempstead has approved the design and construction of green infrastructure drainage improvements along the Meadowbrook Corridor to combat flooding and improve water quality after recently receiving approval of $709,409 in disaster recovery funds from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

The installation of four large underground leaching chambers along Webster Avenue, Camp Avenue, Michalicki Place and Reid Avenue in Merrick will divert and delay significant amounts of water from flooding streets and re-entering the environment as runoff by filtering and detaining storm water runoff on site, before it poses a threat to the community or environment.

Other plans also call for the restoration of local creeks along the Meadowbrook Parkway by reconnecting them to the natural floodplain and building up the wetlands around them in order to reduce erosion and the flow of floodwaters.

“This will be a game changer in terms of controlling flooding during major storm and tidal events,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen. “Protecting this major corridor, a regional gateway for freight deliveries and emergency services, is of paramount concern for the Town’s local economy, safety and security. We are thankful to Governor Cuomo and his office for helping us protect our vital infrastructure and local environment.”

GOSR’s NY Rising Long Island Community Reconstruction Director Jeanmarie Buffett said, “These aggressive steps to reduce the impact of flooding along the vital Meadowbrook Corridor exemplify Governor Cuomo’s mandate for a collaborative, community-based approach to tackling local problems. The Bellmore and Merrick communities identified flooding as a chronic problem and after thoroughly studying feasible approaches, we made funding this project a priority. The Meadowbrook Corridor project will reduce the impact of flooding and improve water quality.”

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, over 59,000 vehicles on average travel daily along the interchange between Merrick Road and the Meadowbrook Parkway.

The Meadowbrook Corridor's low elevation and connection with Merrick Bay renders the area vulnerable to flooding from extreme weather events, including precipitation events and tidal surges. During and after Superstorm Sandy, South Freeport, Merrick, and Bellmore residents were restricted from using Merrick Road where it meets the Parkway because of floodwaters from the Corridor.

"Freeport, Merrick and Bellmore were all severely impacted by Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy and even five years later these communities struggle with every storm surge. I am proud to help move forward a project that will reduce stormwater runoff impacts, address flood risks and improve water quality at the same time," said Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney. "This project is a win-win for the communities surrounding the Meadowbrook Corridor."

Plans call for stormwater to be stored temporarily near where it falls, where it can be used by trees and vegetation, and then allowed to soak into the ground through layers of soil, which naturally remove pollutants from the stormwater.

Town of Hempstead engineers and officials believe that by reducing the overall stormwater volume that is conveyed to local streams and rivers, the overall risk of flooding and erosion will also subside.

“We’re using the environment and natural landscape to relieve flooding and reduce pollution at the source,” said Gillen. “This is all about harnessing the power of nature to help us.”

Construction is estimated to begin by the Spring of 2019.

The Meadowbrook Drainage improvements project is the latest GOSR-funded Community Reconstruction project to be announced. Other Town of Hempstead initiatives include a $3.7 million construction project at Brook Road State Park to institute flood prevention and resiliency measures in South Valley Stream and a more than $1.7 million initiative to install numerous storm water drainage improvements in Woodmere and Inwood.