A massive project that could reshape Staten Island’s eastern shore will officially move forward.
City and state officials—including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Congressman Max Rose—announced today that the so-called Stated Island seawall (officially known as the Staten Island Multi-Use Elevated Promenade) has received funding from the federal government to the tune of $400 million. A Project Partnership Agreement (PPA), agreed to by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York State, will allow the project to move forward.
The 5.3-mile seawall will connect Fort Wadsworth, just south of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, to Oakwood Beach, one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. It’s designed to function as both a barrier during major flooding events, and a recreational space with a boardwalk, bike paths, beach access, and other public spaces. It’s expected to reduce flood-related damages on the island by $30 million each year.
It was first proposed back in 2015, and Cuomo committed a chunk of state funding to the project in 2017. But the project has been stalled since then due to the lack of an easement that would allow the USACE to access land needed for the project. It gained more momentum at the beginning of the year, when freshman Staten Island Congressman Max Rose introduced a bill calling for the “red tape” to be cleared. The funding is now in place, but the easement has yet to be granted.
“This agreement will finally allow construction so Staten Island families can get some relief before the next storm season—but until we pass the easement into law and construction is complete, there’s more work to be done,” Rose said in a statement.
Assuming the easement comes through, the USACE plans to begin construction next year, with the whole thing expected to be complete by 2024.
Last year, the USACE also unveiled five proposals for flood barriers in New York and New Jersey, ranging from “an enormous five-mile storm surge barrier between Breezy Point, Queens, and Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to a series of coastal defenses built along the shorelines of lower Manhattan, East Harlem, Astoria, Long Island City, and several Hudson River towns,” per Nathan Kensinger’s reporting at the time.