Rye is one of 102 cities, towns, and villages throughout the state severely impacted by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene that is participating in Gov. Cuomo’s NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan.
Rye is one of 102 cities, towns, and villages throughout the state severely impacted by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene that is participating in Gov. Cuomo’s NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan. The communities were chosen based on storm damage assessment by the Federal government. With help from local officials, each community formed a committee made up of citizens who best represented the community as a whole.
In Rye’s case, the Co-Chairs are Bernie Althoff and Holly Kennedy, both longtime residents who are original members of the informal flood coalition that grew out of the 2006 and 2007 floods. They, along with fellow Rye NY Rising members, who include former City Councilman Mack Cunningham, former School Board President Josh Nathan, former City Judge Richard Runes, Sara Goddard, author of Rye’s Sustainability Plan, and Rye YMCA Executive Director Gregg Howells, among others, have been working all summer with City staff, the City Council, County and State officials, a team of experts from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and their consultants on a blueprint to make Rye a more storm-resilient community.
“The Committee has come up with a great number of projects, from redredging to upstream retention, that would help mitigate against future floods,” said Althoff. “A scheme for the whole watershed was prepared by the engineers.”
What the Committee seeks next is public input. They invite the community to participate in the process at a public meeting Tuesday, September 9, from 7-9 at the Rye Free Reading Room.
“We want everyone to speak up,” said Althoff. “If you have an idea on flood mitigation, put it on the table at the meeting.”
The NY Rising program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and each locality is eligible for an initial $3 million through a Community Development Block Grant.
When asked how confident the Committee was that Rye would receive funding, Althoff said, “This project is designed to work.”
If all goes according to plan, the preliminary results of Rye NY Rising’s vision and hard work will be on the agenda at the September 10 City Council meeting.
— Robin Jovanovich