Coney Island’s councilman wants to send the city’s post-Sandy rebuilding effort back to the drawing board.
Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) says the city’s Build it Back recovery program left out People’s Playground residents, and called for the program to re-open its registration process, which closed in Oct. 2013 on the one-year anniversary of the storm.
The pol was shocked learning at a Feb. 18 hearing that only 876 Coney Islanders — out of thousands devastated during the disaster — had signed up for repairs and reimbursements from the program. The freshman councilman claimed the low-ball figure was proof the city did not do enough to inform his constituents about the resources available.
“When I saw that number, it just spoke volumes. The program did not do adequate outreach to the diverse communities of our city,” said Treyger, who chairs the Council’s Recovery and Resiliency Committee. “People need to know that their tax money is available for them to rebuild.”
Treyger called for the program to allow more people to apply, and do a comprehensive promotional campaign, complete with advertisements in local papers and seminars with community groups.
Representatives from Build it Back at the public hearing agreed with the councilman.
“We really should try to see if we can’t sign up more people,” said Build It Back deputy program director B.J. Jones.
The Bloomberg administration created Build it Back in order to obtain federal funding to rebuild Sandy-shattered areas up to new specifications, and the program signed up 20,000 afflicted renters and homeowners citywide during its year-long registration period. With more than $600 million in funding secured, Jones said that Build it Back plans to begin actual construction in July 2015.
Mayor DeBlasio’s office, which now oversees the plan, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.