New Year, New Coney Island.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday, December 19 a slew of new targeted resiliency and infrastructure investments that will support both business and jobs in neighborhoods impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
The new programs and investments are part of the city’s proposed Action Plan Amendment to the $4.21 billion in federal disaster aid it has been allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program.
What does all of this mean for South Brooklyn? Big things, according to Coney Island Councilmember Mark Treyger.
“There’s a couple of things in this amendment to the [CDBG-DR] action plan that I think are helpful to South Brooklyn,” said Treyger, noting most specifically allocation of $15 million towards ongoing green infrastructure work along commercial corridors in Coney, including the installation of right-of-way bioswales, landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from runoff water.
According to the mayor’s office, the new infrastructure, generally between West Eighth and West 37th Streets – between Coney Island Creek and the beach – will improve stormwater retention, filter and maintain water quality in local waterways, and enhance business and retail areas through beautification.
The project will serve a “dual purpose,” said Treyger, protecting over 830 local businesses and 9,000 jobs, while also complementing the city’s ongoing programs to make Coney Island more economically resilient and more beautiful to both businesses and consumers.
In addition, the local politician is over the moon about $1.6 million allocated towards the creation of a Southern Brooklyn workforce development center – a development that will serve as a hub to connect local residents to and prepare them for job opportunities associated with the recovery of their own neighborhood.
“This is one of the things I believe very strongly in,” Treyger told this paper, making sure to thank Housing Recovery Director Amy Peterson for her dedication to rebuilding the Build it Back Program, and her role in securing the center. “We have many skilled and qualified residents in the impacted communities that I believe are capable of doing recovery work in their own backyard, and if you don’t know how to get those jobs, we can help you acquire them.”
This investment is particularly timely, he said, given the impending work that will be happening in regards to other recently funded projects.
“If there are people with skills, we have to get them into the pipeline,” Treyger said, hoping that, down the line, the development center will blossom into a full-scale job center to help with things such as resume writing. “This is an opportunity that cannot be missed.”
The Action Plan, de Blasio said, is a major step forward for the entire city.
“We’ve focused on reshaping ineffective programs to deliver real results for communities who need them, and that’s exactly what we’re continuing to do through [the] Action Plan Amendment,” he said. “From support for local small businesses and major infrastructure upgrades across the five boroughs, to continued progress on Build it Back and financial relief for homeowners, we are speeding up recovery while building a safer New York City.