Archive for the tag 'gerritsen beach'

If you are a Sandy victim still struggling with the alphabet soup of city, state and federal agencies, insurance company problems related to the storm, and are still in need of help and support but don’t know what programs are still running, State Senator Marty Golden is holding another Superstorm Sandy town hall meeting, featuring representatives from many of the related agencies.

The meeting is tonight at 7:00 p.m. at P.S. 277, 2529 Gerritsen Avenue.

See the flier below for details.

UPDATE (March 26): Organizers have added two more days to the sale: Thursday, March 27, and Friday, March 28.

These are the final days of the Friends of Gerritsen Beach Library’s first spring book sale since Superstorm Sandy devastated the branch in 2012. The library, located at 2808 Gerritsen Avenue, reopened in October 2013.

The organization has been doing book drives and sales for several years to raise funds for the local institution, with profits being used to help pay for programming and improvements at the branch.

So stop by and purchase a book, on either March 24 or March 25. Then you can donate them next year.

It’s not often you see a member of one of the nation’s most dysfunctional legislative bodies appropriately shaming members of another dysfunctional legislative body, but that’s what we wake up to this morning.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is calling on Albany lawmakers to send resources to those Brooklyn neighborhoods that are currently without representation in either the State Senate or Assembly. Locally, that includes Marine Park, Mill Basin and Gerritsen Beach, who are currently without an assemblyman.

In fact, there are currently five open seats in the two houses of state legislature that represent about 700,000 Brooklynites. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not called a special election to replace them, and those seats will be empty until January 2015.

That means that an entire budget season will come and go, and no one will be representing those districts in negotiations, depriving civic groups and community organizations of operating funds that are allocated annually.

“We cannot allow the failure to schedule a special election to prevent the allocation of resources to the people who lack representation. The legislators whose positions are now vacant supported many of the most important social service organizations and cultural institutions in Brooklyn. I believe we should continue that level of support,” Clarke said.

The Assembly seat representing Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park was vacated when Alan Maisel left the house to become city councilman. Some of the groups that depended on his voice for funding from Albany, according to Clarke, include the Marine Park Community Association and Amity Little League.

Clarke sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, urging them to keep these organizations in mind.

The letter, in full, is after the jump.

gerritsen-library

Friends of Gerritsen Beach Library (2808 Gerritsen Avenue) is in the middle of its first book drive since Superstorm Sandy devastated the branch in 2012. The location reopened in October 2013.

The organization has been doing book drives – followed by sales – for several years to raise funds for the local institution. They ask neighbors to drop off new or lightly used books, which they then sell off to pay for programming and improvements at the branch.

You should drop off any books between now and Wednesday, March 19. But, if you’ve got nothing to spare, you can always stop by and purchase a book during the sale days, on March 24 or March 25. Then you can donate them next year.

The following is a press release issued Monday from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

During [Monday's] Public Hearing on the 2014- 2015 proposed executive budget, State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) had an opportunity to question Mayor de Blasio on the ongoing recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy.

Senator Golden, during his testimony, brought attention to issues of infrastructure, both in regards to public works and homes, commercials strips that still need assistance, the ongoing Build it Back program, and money that is to be distributed to home owners and business owners in Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Sheepshead Bay.

“I invite [Mayor de Blasio] to visit Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Manhattan Beach, and I look forward to working with [him],” said Senator Golden. “Superstorm Sandy was devastating. We have major issues which are yet to be resolved, including hardening our water fronts, working to ensure money is distributed to those in need, and working to repair infrastructure, including streets that are caving in, and water and gas lines that are in desperate need of immediate repair.”

On January 13th, Senator Golden sent a letter to the Mayor de Blasio, requesting an update on the status of money that needs to filter down to home owners and business owners in these communities. He also invited Mayor de Blasio to tour the communities in this letter.

View the letter he sent to de Blasio.

Are you still struggling with city, state or federal agencies – or your insurance company – with Sandy-related problems? Are you still in need of help and support but don’t know what programs are still running?

State Senator Marty Golden is putting together yet another Superstorm Sandy follow-up town hall meeting, featuring representatives from many of the related agencies. The meeting is tonight at 7:00 p.m., at P.S. 277 (2529 Gerritsen Avenue). See the flier below for details.

sandy-flier

nyrising

Residents identified assets and potential projects during October’s workshop.

The second public engagement meeting of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program to restore and protect Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach will be held tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. in the Amity School (3867 Shore Parkway).

The first engagement meeting took place in October, with a workshop for residents to guide state planners on how to spend millions of dollars to protect local infrastructure. The program is part of a $750 million initiative announced in July by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

During tomorrow’s meeting, officials and consultants will unveil a set of proposals and priorities devised, in part, by community residents. They are soliciting feedback for further refinement before issuing their final report, which will be the roadmap for state investment going forward.

A draft of the plan, which will be the topic of tomorrow’s meeting, is available for review here. You can comment on the plan in person at the meeting, or submit comments online.

builditback

Click to enlarge

The New York City Housing Recovery recently released the above infographic, showing the number of registrations for Build it Back. These are the final numbers now that registration for the program is closed.

Along with the Build it Back, the agency also released the number of homes fixed up by Rapid Repairs, have had mold removed by city-run programs, or were demolished by the city. All of these are broken down by impact zones – the six waterfront areas most impacted by the storm, and accounting for a total of 61,793 buildings (many of which are multi-family residences, so the number of households is likely higher).

The numbers tell a story in themselves. While they don’t quite deliver insight into the extent of damage into each neighborhood – a fairly ephemeral impact that’s hard to quantify and even harder to wrap one’s head around – they do show us how active these programs are in particular neighborhoods, and we can draw some conclusions from that.

So let’s get started.

Read on as we break down the numbers, and tease out the story of Brooklyn’s Sandy recovery.

Gerritsen

Buddy Heffernan had just put his Gerritsen Beach house on the market with plans to spend the rest of his golden years with his wife on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Then, Superstorm Sandy washed through the seaside community, forcing him to navigate the murky waters of a real estate market with plummeting prices and rising flood insurance rates that can, in extreme cases, run $10,000 a month.

“Before the storm I could have sold my house for $300,000 easy,” said Herffernan, 76.

Like many people selling property in Gerritsen Beach, Heffernan said he’s been forced to lower his expectations – now he’s asking $279,000 for his two-bedroom, one-bathroom home.

Doreen Garson, owner of Doreen Greenwood Realty, said sales prices have dropped about 10 percent since Sandy. Many homes sold after the storm needed major repair.

“I talked some people out of selling immediately because you don’t want to flood the market,” Garson said. “I sold some fixer-uppers, but those bring the prices down. For a bank appraisal to decide what the buyer will pay, you need comparable houses.”

Joseph Sciulara, owner of “Best Seller” #1 Properties LLC, noted prices dropped as a record number of homes were put up for sale. The multiple listing service currently lists more than 50 houses for sale in Gerritsen Beach – about twice the inventory, pre-Sandy.

“I’ve sold homes for $200,000 that were getting $300,000 before Sandy,” Sciulara said. “Many of them are priced according to how they were damaged by Sandy.”

Investors arrived on the scene, said Paul Link of Tracey Real Estate, purchasing damaged properties that they are now turning around for a profit.

“For the first three to four months, there was no activity,” Link said. “Around March, some people did repairs and sold their houses. Properties are being sold now.”

Prior to the storm, Gerritsen Beach’s popularity was on the rise thanks to an abundance of affordable single-family homes in the waterfront neighborhood. The area’s proximity to the water is now considered a drawback by some.

“People’s confidence in the neighborhood is still low,” Link said. “The buzz still focuses on the fact that it’s on the water.”

Potential buyers worry about how flood insurance rates will change in 2015 when Gerritsen Beach is reclassified as a “Zone A” community – one prone to flooding. For Robert Bendall, a lifelong Gerritsen Beach resident who is under contract to purchase a home in the neighborhood, flood insurance remains a constant worry.

“When they quoted me the price of insurance, there was still the possibility that it will go up,” Bendall, 40, said. “I don’t think we could afford it since we budgeted to even afford the house.”

Garson said homeowners can expect to pay thousands of dollars a month for flood insurance if their homes are not raised more than three feet off the ground. That’s a big blow to many of Gerritsen Beach’s working-class residents.

“These are people who, when their kids are younger, live hand to mouth” Garson said. “They’re depending on FEMA, insurance, and help from the city.”

Garson said she expects the market will get better with time. She plans to keep using the same approach to selling homes as she did before the storm.

“For me, Gerritsen Beach is selling a neighborhood,” she said. “They want a safe, family-oriented place, and that hasn’t changed.”

– by Jacob Passy

nyrising

Nearly 100 neighbors joined government officials and consultants to share their local expertise and draw up storm resiliency plans on Monday, kicking off the first in a slate of workshops sponsored by New York State to give locals a say in recovery and resiliency initiatives.

The workshops are the most public stage to-date of a $750 million initiative announced in July by Governor Andrew Cuomo, called New York Rising, aimed at recruiting locals in identifying key community assets and their thoughts on the best way to protect them from future disasters. The officials and consultants have had several private meetings with local committees of stakeholders and activists, who drew up a roster of initial proposals. The meetings – two of which were held locally this week, in Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach – then turned to the broader public to add more input and refine the plan.

One thing organizers sought to make clear is that this wasn’t a plan about rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy, but a broader community development plan seeking to strengthen the neighborhood’s residential and economic bases from future disasters.

“It’s not a Build it Back program. It’s not about insurance. It’s not about FEMA. It’s about the future of our communities,” said Jim Donovan, co-chair of the NY Rising Reconstruction Committee for Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach. “The most important thing is the future, the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren. Where are they going to live? How do we make our community more sustainable, more resilient? That’s what this whole committee is about.”

After running through a presentation, the attendees split up into half a dozen different groups and received extra large maps of Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach. The maps were already marked with known assets including schools, infrastructure, hospitals and more, and the residents were asked to add anything they felt were important assets that planners should know about. They added historical relics like the Ocean Avenue footbridge, and problematic infrastructure like outdated sewage lines and below-street-level housing.

The sewage line were of particular concern for most in the room, and although the groups operated independently every group added it to the map.

“Before the tsunami came out of Sheepshead Bay [during Sandy], it came out of the sewers. The water came up the pipes and into our houses. And then the tsunami came,” bellowed one man during the meeting.

The groups also began putting forward their own proposals, including key locations for flood gates, utility infrastructure in need of elevation and more.

In addition to resiliency proposals, the groups were tasked with creating a wishlist for broader community development, including restoring the “nautical uniqueness” of the area, boosting tourism through marketing campaigns and weekend express trains, and stronger zoning laws that would prevent over-development in areas like the bungalow communities.

Although some attendees were excited by the visions put forward, others were left wondering what it had to do with storm resiliency.

“It’s a meeting to get rid of stress, that’s all it is,” said Lake Avenue resident Bob Haggerty.

Another attendee, who left in the middle of the meeting, was more succinct:

“What kind of crap is this?” she said.

Even the organizers of the meeting acknowledged that there were still many more obstacles to overcome before the plans could be put in place. The consultants hired by the state will review the proposals, and prioritize them in order of need, cost and feasibility.

The group will come out with a draft report on October 28, the one year anniversary of the storm. In November, a second public meeting will be held for more public input, and the final plan will be issued in March.

At that point, there’s little plan in place for enacting the proposals laid out. Representatives from the Department of State, which is overseeing the initiative, acknowledged that there is not yet funding for many of the ideas, and they hope to work with city agencies on the key infrastructure proposals.

Beyond that, the consultants are charged with identifying funding sources for realizing the “wishlist” items that the community has prioritized.

If you were unable to attend and would like to provide input, visit http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/community/gerritsen-beach-and-sheepshead-bay and submit your comments via the yellow contact button on the right.

You can also join the conversation using the hashtag #NYRising on Twitter (@NYStormRecovery). Follow the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program on Facebook (NYStormRecovery) or go to www.stormrecovery.ny.gov. For more information, email info@stormrecovery.ny.gov.

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