After years of community forums and discussions about how to create better drainage in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which decimated scores of homes and businesses in Merrick and Bellmore – notable among them the Dakota Design Center on Merrick Road in Merrick, Hempstead Town Supervisor and Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney announced that $709,409 in disaster recovery funds appropriated from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery will help rebuild the drainage infrastructure to significantly reduce flooding along the Meadowbrook Corridor while it improves the region’s water quality.
Specifically, 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,
Town Supervisor Gillen, in a statement, said the grant and new infrastructure design would be a “game changer” in controlling flooding during major storm and tidal events. “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.” She thanked Governor Cuomo and his office for “helping us protect our vital infrastructure and local environment.”
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.
During storm and tidal surges, and heavy rains – and especially when Superstorm Sandy struck – the Meadowbrook Corridor’s low elevation and connection with Merrick Bay render the area thoroughly vulnerable to flooding . 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, remarked Jeanmarie Buffet, NY Rising’s Long Island Long Island community reconstruction director.
She said 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.”
Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney added that “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.” She called the project a “win-win” for the communities surrounding the Meadowbrook Corridor.
Plans call for storm water 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 storm water.
Town of Hempstead engineers and officials believe that by reducing the overall storm water 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 Supervisor Gillen. “This is all about harnessing the power of nature to help us.”
Construction is estimated to begin no later than spring 2019.