It took an historic flood and the intervention of New York’s Senior Senator (who also happens to be the House Majority Leader) to revive the $88 Million flood control project that was shelved under President Trump.
US Senator Charles Schumer announced Wednesday that he has secured a promise that part of the $1.5 Billion in supplemental disaster aid recently approved by Congress will flow to Army Corps of Engineers projects sidelined by the previous administration. That includes Mamaroneck.
Schumer says he personally appealed to the Acting Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget after touring flood damaged Mamaroneck last month in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
The already approved project was abruptly shelved in February of 2020 when the Trump OMB announced the flood mitigation efforts in the Sheldrake and Mamaroneck River flood pains were “not consistent with the policy and programs of the president.”
At the time Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy said the message was “Trump to Mamaroneck: Drop Dead.”
The Army Corps of Engineers came up with the project following assessment of devastating flooding back in 2007 and both the County and Village government agreed. The jointly funded project ($59 Million federal, $29 Million State and Local) would involve construction of a diversion culvert, new retaining walls, widened river channels and the elevation of several structures including vehicular bridges that restrict the flow of water to Long Island Sound.
The Corps estimates the improvements will reduce flood damage by 87%. The Village estimated last month’s post-Ida flooding caused $93M in damage, as compared to the $50 Million dollar price tag in 2007’s flood.
Substantial flooding also occurred following Hurricanes Irene and Lee in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Proponents of the project say they hope to see construction begin within a year, but the Army Corps of Engineers tells The Loop that 2024 is a more likely start date. The Corps is still awaiting documentation and design authorizations from New York State.
Lou Young is a veteran journalist who has been honored with multiple awards including 10 Emmys. He retired in 2017 after 43 years in TV News and was recently appointed a Trustee in the Village of Mamaroneck, and has suspended reporting duties.