$12.5 million grant awarded for the town dock: FEMA grant provides funds to reconstruct the dock after damage from Sandy



After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the town dock suffered extensive damage. The FEMA grant will provide the funds necessary to repair and improve the dock.

Zoe Basulto, Staff Writer

Four years after the devastating Hurricane Sandy struck, the town is still continuing to mend various damages.  Sandy had a destructive impact on Port Washington, particularly on the local town dock.  Even before the storm damage, the dock had not been renovated since 1979, and it was extremely outdated.

With the receipt of a grant of $12.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, combined with previous grants of $125,000 from the New York State Department of Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, continuous donations from residents, and $75,000 from a National Endowment for the Arts, the dock will finally obtain the much needed improvements.

The town dock, which overlooks Manhasset Bay, is approximately 61,000 square feet and is a prime location for mooring boats and fishing. In addition, it is the headquarters for the Port Washington Harbor Patrol. The dock plays a key role in the community by attracting numerous tourists to the downtown Main Street Area and assisting local businesses to thrive.  However, all of these activities and businesses are jeopardized with the damage to the dock.

“Hurricane Sandy took quite a toll on many of our parks and facilities in North Hempstead, including our beloved Town Dock,” said Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

Throughout the storm, the dock sustained corrosion to steel bulkheads, stress cracks, and damage to the overlay parking lot, retaining walls, and concrete catch basins.  After Sandy, minor fixes were made, but these new repairs are meant to make the dock more resilient for upcoming storms and fully restore the various damages.

“As someone who loves the town dock and all of the activities it offers, I am very excited to see the necessary repairs finally made,” said sophomore Joe Clark.

Before these improvements can be completed, however, numerous permits must be approved, which can be an extensive process.  If all goes according to plan, the work can commence by the summer of 2018, but may occur in phases due to the increased marine traffic during the summer season.

No definitive plans have been drawn up yet, but there has been discussion about placing the dock on stilts or elevating it, which will hopefully lessen the damage of future storms and make it more durable.

In addition, there has also been speculation about an interactive park, different art components, and spaces that relate to the marine location.  The project was initially approved in April 2015, but further assessments of the damage were required, performed by Rising Tide Engineering.  In a lengthy report, it was determined that the entire dock would need to be replaced.  After a push towards additional funding, FEMA agreed to provide it.

“I thank FEMA for providing us this funding that will allow us to continue to make the Town Dock safe for residents to use and formidable against any future natural disasters,” said Bosworth.

With the four year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy recently passing, the town dock will finally see its necessary upgrades made in the foreseeable future due to the assistance from FEMA and the other grant programs.

FEMA is a government agency that works toward preparing and responding to all hazards and has previously aided efforts for Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, Hurricane Matthew.