The first project that the state’s New York Rising recovery program will fund is something it wants the local community to build for itself.
The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery announced funding this week for locally run recovery community centers, which will provide aid and social services to residents in the event of a natural disaster.
The idea for the storm centers came out of community brainstorming sessions by group’s such as the Southeast Brooklyn Waterfront Planning Committee, which solicited public input on how to spend the $4.38 million in New York Rising Sandy recovery funding allocated for projects in Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Mill Island, and Mill Basin to prepare for the next superstorm.
The recovery center — which will not be an evacuation center, but rather will offer social services to residents during disasters and coordinate recovery efforts in the aftermath — is a response to numerous communities’ requests for a place to organize local recovery efforts, according to the executive director of the governor’s office of storm recovery.
“In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, we witnessed tremendous examples of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Jamie Rubin. “Time and time again, throughout the eight-month planning process, we heard that these centers were a priority for many storm-impacted neighborhoods. Now, we are moving forward with making them a reality.”
A portion of the $4.38 million will go to retrofit an existing building in the area to host the center, and contract with local community groups to offer services.
The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery is asking for local groups and building owners to submit statements of qualifications to provide facilities and services. Interested organizations should visit the New York Rising website at stormrecovery.ny.gov/procurement-opportunities for information on how to apply.
A New York Rising coordinator said the program has already received many applications for recovery centers across the city, and now it must sift through the candidates to find the best fit for each location.
“It is like, okay, well, how do we decide who gets that?” said Chelsea Muller, the regional head of New York Rising. “We’ve been working on this rollout and this implementation process.”
The recovery center was one of eight potential projects that the Southeast Brooklyn Waterfront Planning Committee sent to Albany for approval in January. The list of projects also included a stormwater retention system for Bergen Beach, costal protection studies, stormwater capture programs, homeowner advice programs, emergency preparedness courses, the creation of alternative power hotspots, and the addition of generators to vital health and social services providers.