Resiliency Plans For Howard Beach

Staff Writer

There are several ideas on how to better prepare Howard Beach for future storms, and they were all presented on Monday at Russo’s on the Bay.

The Howard Beach New York Rising Community Planning Committee held a six-hour public meeting on Monday to discuss plans to better protect the coastal Queens neighborhood in the event of another Sandy-like storm hitting New York.

New York State, through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY Rising program, were awarded $18.3 million to spend on projects in Howard Beach related to improving the area’s resilience.

The Howard Beach Committee, led by several community leaders in the area including John Calcagnile, Frances Scarantino, Betty Braton and others, chose nine projects that will receive funding from that money.

Some of the nine projects include the Catholic Charities Relief Center Hub, which would create several disaster hubs in Howard Beach for residents to get what they need.

That includes using the Howard Beach library as an information and communications hub for people to stay in contact, opening the local Waldbaums as an area where they can get food and medical-related needs and the senior center a health and social services center.

Other projects on the list include creating a coastal protection plan for the area surrounding Charles Memorial Park and giving more funding to the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

Residents in attendance were given what they called “NY Rising Bucks,” which was $18.3 million in fake money, and decided how to divide up that money.

Thomas Jost, the senior urban strategist at Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consulting company hired to work with the committee on the proposals, said that allows residents to have a say in how much money the projects will get.
“The whole idea is to understand from the community where their priorities are,” he said.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127,, or @luisgronda.