Staten Island seawall gets federal funding, construction to move forward

An artist rendering of the multi-use promenade slated for Staten Island includes a running and bike lane, beach access and food vendors. Photo Credit: The Office of the Governor of New York

The project includes outdoor space for concerts and festivals.

An artist rendering of the multi-use promenade slated for Staten Island includes a running and bike lane, beach access and food vendors.
An artist rendering of the multi-use promenade slated for Staten Island includes a running and bike lane, beach access and food vendors. Photo Credit: John Roca

The proposed Staten Island seawall – a 5.3-mile barricade that will be part of a multi-use elevated promenade project – is slated to receive $400 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, officials said Tuesday.

Announced in May 2017, the seawall is expected to protect Staten Island’s eastern coast from strong storms that could produce dangerous flooding. When superstorm Sandy hit in 2012, 24 of the 48 New York City residents killed were on Staten Island, according to The New York Times.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the project will make sure future storms don’t cause similar devastation.

“This innovative project will protect Staten Islanders from future devastating storms, enhance access to the shore, create thriving wetlands and bring peace of mind to the diverse communities that live along the coastline,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide $400 milion to the Staten Island seawall project as part of a partnership with the state and city.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide $400 milion to the Staten Island seawall project as part of a partnership with the state and city. Photo Credit: The Office of the Governor of New York

The Army Corps of Engineers will design and construct the complex, expected to begin in 2020 and be complete by 2024. The Army Corps believes the addition to Staten Island’s coastline will “reduce damages to the area by $30 million annually over a 50-year timeline.”

The new funding – in conjunction with $151 million from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $65 million from New York City’s Capital Funds – arrived just in time, according to Staten Island politicians.

“Our communities are still dealing with the effects of destructive damage of superstorm Sandy and the rise in flood insurance,” said Assemb. Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island). “We cannot afford to fall behind on preparation for potential future disasters.”

The seawall will be up to 20 feet above sea level and span from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach. The beach will include flood-resilient wetlands, which along with the wall are anticipated to prevent city and residential flooding during hurricane season.

The promenade will feature a boardwalk with bike and running lanes, which Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island) hope will become a tourist destination. They also want the promenade to include beach access, outdoor concerts, cultural festivals, carnivals, running events, environmental education, and other gatherings.

“After decades of fear and waiting, the people of Staten Island’s shoreline communities will soon be receiving the protection they need and deserve,” said Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island). “This is a true testament to all three levels of government working together.”

Li Yakira Cohen