Mayor promises to raise courts by spring

Back off: Stanton Court resident Mike Rodriguez says he doesn’t need the city telling him how to maintain his neighborhood’s private streets.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Maybe the second time’s the charm?

After failing to meet his first self-imposed deadline to complete Hurricane Sandy repairs last year, Mayor DeBlasio vowed anew during a town hall in on Sept. 14 that all the repairs within Sheepshead Bay’s “courts” — an enclave of now nearly deserted bungalows with narrow, private streets set five feet below grade — will be done by the time the flowers bloom.

“All of them will be completed by this coming spring, and once and for all, things will be back to the way they should be,” DeBlasio said during the gathering with Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) at the Connie Lekas School.

Last year, Hizzoner had conceded just days before the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy that he could not make good on his promise to complete all recovery work by the end of 2016. But after a $500-million federal bailout of the city’s sluggish and financially troubled Build it Back storm-recovery program, DeBlasio is again dishing out the promises,

Work only began in July to elevate or rebuild 32 homes on Lake Avenue, Stanton Road, Lincoln Terrace, Losee Court, and Gunnison Court and put in a brand new sewer system for the enclave off Emmons Avenue between E. 29th Street and Batchelder Street— whose residents finally agreed to form a homeowners association to maintain the new pipes under their private streets, a condition for the federally funded, city-run Build it Back program to spend $20 million redoing the failing sewers that often flood during even moderate rain.

“I want to confirm this evening, working with the federal government, there will be an investment of $20 million to rebuild the water and sewer infrastructure at Stanton Courts, part of Sheepshead Bay courts,” Hizzoner said. “And that is something that is moving ahead right away and is going to make a difference.”

This time around, those who were previously skeptical are now more optimistic, because things are already looking up, said Stanton Road resident Mike Rodriguez, whose home was recently raised above flood levels along with several others.

“So far they are doing well. They already got seven homes down, got four homes elevated. It looks good, I’ll probably get a nosebleed that high up,” said Rodriguez, who just a year ago scoffed at DeBlasio’s self-imposed deadline. “I’m pretty sure we’re looking at it being done some time by April, so far they have been doing exactly what they said they are doing.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

More from Around New York