BY JON CRONIN
Hamilton Beach is typically hard hit with flooding during heavy downpours. The sleepy oceanside community has been slapped with its second nor’easter within five days.
But residents said that Hamilton Beach’s biggest problem isn’t flooding—but rather that parts of the community do not drain for extended periods of time.
Roger Gendron, the president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said that 106th Avenue and 102nd Street are frequently flooded with as much as 18 inches of water “quite severely and [they] stay flooded for some time. We’re cut off at that point [from the main roads].” He noted that the intersection of Russell Street and 104th Street often remain flooded for hours after a storm or particularly high tide.
On Saturday, there was a moon tide and high tide, which flooded Coleman Square in Hamilton Beach. The water was so high that it stalled one car, and the Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department had to rescue two people caught in the car.
Gendron said that now is the time for the city to act on those spots in the community. He recently authored a letter that was sent to every level of government, from local Community Board 10 to elected officials.
“It’s time now to look at our situation,” he said, adding that he had previously sat on boards, where he discussed the issue with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration and New York Rising.
Currently, the Army Corp of Engineers is considering a plan to build a floodgate that stretches from the tip of Breezy Point to Sandy Hook in Brooklyn, but Gendron is not sure that it will protect Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach.
He explained that a bridge that large would have multiple gates, and he is not sure if those in charge would close the gates for Hamilton Beach for smaller storms, such as the one last weekend.
He said that he wants to see a similar floodgate to the one in Stamford, Connecticut, that he learned has saved the town $38 million in damage since it was built in the early 1960s.
Gendron has proposed that a floodgate be created to close off the Hawtree Basin and Shellbank Basin.
It would stretch from Hamilton Beach Park to Cross Bay Boulevard and protect the communities from three- to five-foot tide surges.
Gendron is hoping that he can bring various city agencies to the same table and discuss what needs to be done.
“Why would you not want to safeguard? Floodgates are proven to work,” he said.
Reach reporter Jon Cronin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 125.