|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||May 7, 2013|
|Contact:||Alison Zemanski Heis, Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, P: 202.454.3332 or C: 202.384.8762
Alexander Brash, Senior Northeast Regional Director, P: 212.617.2989; C: 917.420.0876
Harbor Coalition Welcomes Sandy Recovery Funding to Repair Regional Parks
Department of Interior Announces Plans for $475 Million in Sandy Recovery Funds
NEW YORK, NY – Leaders of the New York-New Jersey Harbor Coalition praised Department of Interior officials today for their plans to invest $475 million in Superstorm Sandy funding in projects that will strengthen communities and improve storm resiliency, while also creating jobs, protecting our natural resources and restoring critical beach and national park sites in time for the summer season.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced today that the Department would provide funding to benefit 234 projects along the East Coast, including dozens of sites around the NY-NJ Harbor; all together, New York and New Jersey will receive more than $313 million for work at Gateway National Recreation Area, Liberty and Ellis islands, and other sites. Included in the spending plan are funds to repair and rebuild parking lots at Sandy Hook, docks at Great Kills Marina in Staten Island, the campground at Floyd Bennett Field, the Jamaica Bay Riding Academy, seawalls in the Rockaways, and nature trails at the ecology center near Broad Channel, among work at other sites.
“We applaud Secretary Jewell for quickly moving ahead to allocate Sandy funds in the region, especially so millions of Americans may now look forward to enjoying the beaches from Sandy Hook to Fire Island this summer, as well as visits to iconic sites like the Statue of Liberty. With the Department of Interior’s renewed commitment to our harbor region, we also look forward to additional allocations from the mitigation and resiliency funds that will benefit more of our urban communities around the NY/NJ Harbor, reducing storm risks, while also improving the public lands we all treasure,” said Alexander Brash, Harbor Coalition co-chair and senior Northeast regional director for National Parks Conservation Association. “Today’s announcement and the planned allocation of funds lends great momentum to the Interior’s recent efforts to restore Jamaica Bay and to elevate Gateway National Recreation Area as a crown jewel for the region.”
“This is a strong step in the right direction for local communities and park users around the area,” added Roland Lewis, Harbor Coalition Co-Chair and President and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “Whether it’s a family from Flatbush looking to enjoy a day at Riis Beach, recreational boaters heading out from Staten Island, or cyclists hoping to cruise around Sandy Hook – this funding will help us restore the park sites we know and love.”
The Department of Interior received a total of $829.2 million through a supplemental funding bill that was approved in January as part of $60 billion package to help our nation rebuild and recover from Superstorm Sandy. The Harbor Coalition worked alongside members of the New York and New Jersey delegation to ensure that Congress approved the full funding package and it is now advocating to ensure that this funding is wisely invested in projects that provide multiple benefits for our urban coastline while also improving our storm resiliency and reducing the risk, and costs, associated with future weather events. More information on the Coalition’s recommendations can be found here.
The NY-NJ Harbor Coalition is an advocacy campaign comprised of more than 45 local and national organizations who joined forces to galvanize public support, engage elected leaders and secure the critical funding needed to transform our urban waterways into a modern, world-class harbor and estuary that better meets the economic, environmental, quality of life and storm resiliency needs of the region’s 22 million residents and nearly 50 million annual visitors.
About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA and its 750,000 members and supporters work together to protect our National Park System and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren www.npca.org.