New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas today announced the completion of a resiliency project on Long Island. The nearly-$1 million project, funded through HCR’s Office of Resilient Homes and Communities (RHC), will mitigate flooding in the hamlet of Merrick, located in the town of Hempstead in Nassau County.
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “By making these improvements, Merrick will be a stronger and more resilient community when the next major storm hits. As New York continues to adapt to a changing climate, our partnership with local officials and residents will be essential to safeguard neighborhoods and protect critical infrastructure for the long-term.”
Meadowbrook Creek in Merrick experienced heavy rain, winds, and severe flooding during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Superstorm Sandy in 2012 caused even more extensive damages with a storm surge of over ten feet at high tide, which inundated waterfront neighborhoods in the area. Thousands of homes along the corridor were damaged, the community struggled with power outages, and roads and evacuation routes were blocked by flooding, preventing access by residents and fire responders.
The project included several sustainable green infrastructure improvements to reduce flooding, manage stormwater, and minimize damage during future weather events. Permeable pavements and rain gardens were installed along several streets including Webster Avenue, Camp Avenue, Michalicki Place, and Reid Avenue. These measures will help capture and filter stormwater and stormwater runoff to relieve some of the burden on municipal stormwater systems and help prevent discharge into Meadowbrook Creek.
In the future, these investments will strengthen the community’s resiliency by preventing flooding along major thoroughfares, improving water quality, and ensuring the Merrick community is better able to withstand future storms.
“The completion of this major project is a boon for the neighborhoods surrounding Meadowbrook Creek. Not only will this project enhance the community’s resiliency against major storms, but it will also ensure first-responder access to the area during the event of a weather emergency,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin.
“The completion of this project boosts the resiliency of our community while reducing potential flooding. These infrastructure improvement projects are the right steps towards strengthening Long Island’s defense against future weather events,” said Hempstead Town Deputy Supervisor Dorothy Goosby.
“I am glad this important project for the Merrick community has been completed,” said Town of Hempstead Councilman Chris Carini. “Flooding remains to be a significant hazard for the shores of Long Island, as both major and minor storms can create unsafe storm surges. Investing in our infrastructure is vital for combating these weather hazards.”
In October 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the creation of the Office of Resilient Homes and Communities (RHC), which assumed the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s portfolio. GOSR was established as a temporary agency in 2013 to coordinate statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. More recently, the agency is also coordinating long term recovery and resiliency efforts for Hurricane Ida. RHC is also partnering with the State's disaster-response agencies to lead New York’s recovery and resiliency efforts and develop a pipeline of resiliency initiatives and strategies across the State.