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Helping hands: Federal pols allocate $8 million for Sandy-damaged Red Hook rec center repairs

Much needed: Three politicians have secured more than $8 million in federal cash for repairs to the Sandy-damaged Red Hook Recreation Center.
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It’s a needed flow of funds.

Three politicians have secured more than $8 million in federal cash for repairs to the Sandy-damaged Red Hook Recreation Center.

Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), along with her colleague Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-Red Hook) got the funding for the city-owned center through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will protect the damaged below-level part of the structure from future flooding, one of the pols said Tuesday.

“This federal funding to the Red Hook Recreation Center is a critical investment that will help flood-proof its basement facilities to protect the center from future severe weather,” Gillibrand said in a joint press release with her fellow politicos.

Superstorm Sandy ripped through the neighborhood in 2012, leveling a swath of local businesses and homes, including the Bay Street rec center — which this paper reported was out of commission for two months after the storm flooded it with harbor water — and blanketing the rest of the waterfront nabe in darkness for weeks.

The center is back in operation but the Parks Department still needs to fix its basement and filter house, a spokeswoman said.

“While the building is currently operational, renovations to the basement and filter house are needed,” said Maeri Ferguson in an emailed statement to this paper.

The federal funds package is a step toward mending the storm damages but the department will issue a request for proposal to address the full repairs and their cost, according to Ferguson.

“This FEMA funding is a significant step toward needed improvements to the Red Hook Recreation Center and pool, which were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy,” she said. “Parks is currently working to create an RFP to address a more comprehensive scope of needs and final cost estimate.”

Flood-proofing the center is important to secure the center for future extreme weather events that are likely to become more frequent due to climate change, according to Velázquez.

“Sadly, if climate change continues, we may well see additional superstorms in coming years, making it all the more important that we invest in storm resiliency. Flood proofing the Red Hook Recreation Center is one such step that can protect this public resource from future extreme weather and I’m proud to see federal funds invested for this purpose,” she said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 10:26 am, May 8, 2019
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