Archive for the tag 'workshops'

The Kings Bay YM-YWHA will be hosting a public forum on Superstorm Sandy recovery tomorrow, June 17 at the Y, 3495 Nostrand Avenue. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum starts promptly at 6:00 p.m.

City Councilman Mark Treyger will speak about his efforts on the Recovery & Resiliency Committee, and attendees will also hear from other areas of planning and recovery such as Sheepshead Bay / Gerritsen Beach NY Rising plans.

There will also be time to speak directly to Build it Back case managers and specialists to learn updates on the progress of your own application.

To learn more, contact Empower Sheepshead RC Program Coordinator Vadim Shiglik at (718) 648-7703 extension 260 or vshiglik@empowersheepshead.org.

nyrising-sheepshead

The New York Rising project, a state-sponsored, federally-funded program to make coastal communities more resilient in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, will unveil the final proposals for Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach tonight, revealing the $21.3 million vision to help us better withstand and more quickly recover from future disasters.

The meeting kicks off at 7:00 p.m. at the Brooklyn Amity School (3867 Shore Parkway), and all are welcome to attend.

The workshop represents the culmination of nearly a year of work by a committee of grassroots stakeholders, who worked with planning experts and consultants to identify shortcomings and vulnerabilities in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and propose ideas that would fill those gaps. After several public hearings and draft plans, they’re finalizing the plan that the state will begin implementing. You can read the full report here, but we’re boiling it down to what you need to know ahead of tonight’s meeting.

The first thing to note is that there’s already $13.3 million allocated to Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach to see many of these projects through. It’s still several million shy of covering all the costs of the full vision, and the committee’s job is to come up with the list of projects to receive those funds. This is basically the highest priority stuff that they’re asking the state to pay attention to. Once the report is finalized, the state will pluck from the list and give their final go-ahead.

There are also projects that the committee thinks is a good idea, called featured projects, but not good enough to receive money from the existing pot. Those will require separate funding from what’s already been doled out by the feds. To keep it simple, we’re not including these in our list.

If you think any of these ideas are a waste of money, or you have suggestions for a tweak or change in plans, make sure you attend tonight’s meeting. While the plan is final, representatives from the governor’s office and other agencies responsible for implementing it will be in attendance, and your input could change how they move forward and what they prioritize.

Without further ado, here’s the list of projects that the local committee is recommending for funding through federal money already held by the state. We’ve organized them in order of estimated price tag.

  • Installation of sewer cut-off valves for one- and two-family homes - $5.7 million – Timeframe: 18-24 months  – One of the most frequently heard complaints after the storm was that homes flooded not from actual stormwater, but from overflowing sewers that backed up into homes. This proposal would provide funds for the purchase and installation of several thousand cut-off valves for local property owners. Essentially, the valves seal off the property if waste is heading the wrong way through the pipe.
  • Elevating and retrofitting homes  – $2.5-$3.5 million – Timeframe: two years – The project would help provide direct financial assistance to fund elevation and retrofitting of homes in the area, including a public education component to inform homeowners of additional available resources. The project includes assessing the number of homes in the area that need to be raised or upgraded, and determining eligibility guidelines for the work.
  • Installation of backup generators at key facilities - $2.55 million – Estimate time to implement: 12-16 months – Many of the waterfront senior homes and community spaces struggled in Sandy’s wake to get back up and running because of power outages, and neighbors also had few places to charge cell phones and other technology they relied on. This proposal seeks to install 13 large-scale generators at key facilities in the high-risk flood zone. They’ll be limited to public facilities or private buildings that serve critical needs, like health and medical services, food or medical supplies, and will be flood-proofed.
  • Retrofitting key businesses and community services assets - $2.5 million – Timeframe: 16-24 months – Sandy knocked a huge swath of Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road businesses out of operation for several months, and that includes pharmacies and grocery stores. This proposal would fund the installation of risk reduction measures, such as deployable small-scale flood barriers at all entrances to a property, as well as upgrades like the elevation or enclosure of mechanical equipment. It’s not clear how many businesses and community facilities would be covered by the $2.5 million.
  • Create an Emergency Response and Recovery Center in Sheepshead Bay - $2.4 million – Timeframe: 12-16 months – Committee members argued that recovery from Sandy was hampered by the lack of a central location for response operations, both in the immediate aftermath, when food and basic supplies were crucial, and in the months that followed, when residents needed access to information and resources. This proposal is to study potential locations for a new or existing building, assess options to make it flood proof, and then lease, buy or construct such a space. Once created, it would be staffed before, during and after a storm as a space for pre-disaster planning and post-disaster operations, including storage of supplies and equipment.
  • Retrofitting the Gerritsen Beach Vollies and Fire Department - $2.4 million – Timeframe: 12-16 months – The Vollies Hall and Gerrittsen Beach Fire Department Station played a critical role in the aftermath of Sandy, becoming the de facto headquarters for relief operations. While they escaped the worst of Sandy’s wrath, it may not fare so well in future storms. The committee proposes building second floors on both of these one-story structures, and retrofitting it with resiliency equipment including flood barriers, generators, storm gates and even solar panels.
  • Backflow prevention measures on city stormwater outfall pipes - $740,000 – Timeframe: 12 months – Many Sandy victims didn’t see the water coming from the Bay, they saw it rising out of the sewers. That’s because the stormwater infiltrated the sewer system through outfall pipes on the coastline, where it reemerged from street grates and home sewer lines. This project proposes to take a look at the system to analyze the infrastructure, and to install devices that would automatically close five outfall pipes in Sheepshead Bay and 11 in Gerritsen Beach when water begins heading in the wrong direction.
  • Resilient streetscape improvements on Emmons Avenue - $500,000 – Timeframe: 12 months – The Emmons Avenue corridor would be upgraded with benches and lighting, additional tree beds and grass plantings – as well as the installation of green stormwater drainage and attenuation systems. Green spaces help with drainage after a heavy rain event and help prevent flooding on roads and sidewalks.
  • Repair and reconstruct Canton Court bulkhead in Gerritsen Beach - $490,000 – Timeframe: 6-9 months – Sandy did major damage to this bulkhead, which supports a roadway, and the street is now collapsing. This project allocates funds to tear it down, build a new one and repair the street.
  • Study Gerrtisen Beach streets for infrastructure repairs - $200,000 – Timeframe: 6-8 months – This project will produce a report to be given to the Department of Transportation for a plan to upgrade the neighborhood’s street infrastructure with better catch basins and drainage systems. The plan will then be in the city’s hands to budget for.
  • Feasibility study to improve the resiliency of Sheepshead Bay’s courts - $150,000 – Timeframe: 12 months – The worst hit homes in Sheepshead Bay were those in the “courts” – the bungalow colonies along Emmons Avenue that sit five feet below street level. In addition to their low-lying nature, the web of sidewalks between them have no city-connected drainage systems, turning the entire thing into a swimming pool on moderately rainy days. This study will consider various measures to improve stormwater drainage and help alleviate the persistent flooding, and it would also look at modifying the buildings to be more resilient, and even connecting the whole system to city infrastructure. There is no funding to actually implement any proposals the report may produce.
  • Storm surge protection for Sheepshead Bay -  $100,000 – Two-year project – New York Rising stakeholders for Manhattan Beach repeatedly complained that much of their flooding came from the Sheepshead Bay side of the peninsula, not the ocean. As such, they’re proposing a “reconnaissance study” to identify viable options to keep the bay contained in future storms. If some options seem doable, a feasibility study will commence, and then implementation. There is not yet funding for either the feasibility study or the implementation.
  • Evacuation planning for Gerritsen Beach - $50,000 – Estimated timeframe: 3 to 4 months - Gerritsen Beach’s only evacuation route is Gerritsen Avenue – which is also at risk of flooding. This proposal is to fund a study to see if the route can handle the traffic volume that would emerge in an emergency situation, resulting in proposals to alter operational plans (such as a parking ban on the corridor during an evacuation event, which would open up an additional lane of traffic).

ridersalliance

Join the Riders Alliance tonight, May 8, for part two of their grassroots initiative to brainstorm strategies and help plan a winning campaign to improve public transportation throughout Southern Brooklyn. The group will be meeting from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Homecrest Presbyterian Church, 1413 Avenue T at East 15th Street.

Snacks will be provided. If you are interested in attending, you must RSVP on the Riders Alliance website. To learn more, contact Rebecca Bailin at (212) 590-9504 or email her at rebecca@ridersny.org if you have any questions.

rising

Residents of Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sea Gate will gather tomorrow night for what will be their last chance to weigh in on how the state will spend millions of dollars to strengthen the Coney Island peninsula from future storms.

The meeting kicks off at 7:00 p.m. at MCU Park (1904 Surf Avenue), and all are welcome to attend.

Organizers will present information and solicit feedback for the final time on a set of proposed projects to help the communities recover and become more resilient. It’s the culmination of nearly a year of work by the New York Rising project, a state-sponsored, federally-funded program to bolster the neighborhoods. The state brought together a committee of grassroots stakeholders with planning experts and consultants to identify shortcomings and vulnerabilities in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and propose ideas that would fill those gaps.

After several public hearings and draft plans, they’re finalizing the plan that the state will begin implementing. You can read the full report here, but we’re boiling it down to what you need to know ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.

The first thing to note is that there’s already millions of dollars allocated to each community to see these projects through. The committee’s job is to come up with the list of projects to receive those funds. This is basically the highest priority stuff that they’re asking the state to pay attention to. Once the report is finalized, the state will pluck from the list and give their final go-ahead.

Some of the projects require multiple phases, of which only the first phase is funded. We’ve tried to note that in the entries below.

There are also projects that the committee thinks is a good idea, but not good enough to receive money from the existing pot. Those will require separate funding from what’s already been doled out by the feds. To keep it simple, we’re not including these in our list.

If you think any of these ideas are a waste of money, or you have suggestions for a tweak or change in plans, make sure you attend tomorrow’s meeting. A similar plan has been drawn up for Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach, which we’ll be breaking down before their meeting next Monday.

Without further ado, here’s the list of projects that the local committee is recommending for funding through federal money already held by the state (and, where noted, the unfunded second phases). We’ve organized them in order of estimated price tag.

  • Upgrades for Manhattan Beach bathhouse - $4 million – No timeframe given – Even though the bathhouse has been shuttered for years, and even though the report notes that “the project would not directly reduce risk to the Community,” Rising has given the largest allocation to this project, which would upgrade the structure to allow it to reopen year-round. It would also explore the use of renewable energy systems and solar panels, and evaluate floodproofing measures. There’s a catch though – before a dime is spent, the Parks Department and the committee will have to come to an agreement on the building’s ultimate use. Once the use is figured out, the $4 million covers basic upgrade costs, but an estimated $15 million to $20 million is expected to be needed to fully reactive it. Potential uses include recreational amenities, retail concessions or a community center.
  • Sea Gate bulkhead replacement - $3 million – Two-year project – This project seeks to replace the crumbled bulkhead around the Sea Gate community, helping mitigate the effects of future storm surges. The bulkhead was in bad condition before the storm, and Sandy nearly obliterated them, causing water to gush into the streets and homes of Sea Gate. The project requires the cooperation of property owners, which would allow the bulkhead to be extended in length, and protect more neighborhood assets.
  • Community streetscape enhancement - $2.5 million – $3 million – One-year implementation – This isn’t just to replace to the dead trees in the neighborhood. It’s also mean to create more tree pits and vegetative areas, which provide important drainage in the wake of a storm. A better looking streetscape has also had measurable effects on commercial activity and property values. It wouldn’t really help in a storm like Sandy, but the communities involved already suffer flooding issues in much less severe rainstorms, which this could efficiently address. It appears though, that this doesn’t include Mermaid Avenue, which could raise the price tag by $2.2 million. The committee decided that the corridor needs significant infrastructure improvements before streetscaping could be done.
  • Installation of sewer cut-off valves for one- and two-family homes - $2.4 million – $3.5 million – One of the most frequently heard complaints after the storm was that homes flooded not from actual stormwater, but from overflowing sewers that backed up into homes. This proposal would provide funds for the purchase and installation of 1,000 cut-off valves for local homeowners. Essentially, the valves seal off the home if waste is heading the wrong way through the pipe.
  • Solar-powered street lights - $2 million – $3.5 million – 18 month implementation – It took weeks to restore street lighting on the peninsula after Sandy. This would help ensure they never go out again by making the lights independent of the power grid. Not only would this lower city utility costs, but it improves the real and perceived safety of the area in the wake of an outage. The proposal covers between seven and 10 miles of local streets.
  • Small business support center - $1.96 million – Two year project – This basically creates a temporary facility for small business owners to turn to as they continue to recover. The staff here may also help establish merchant associations or business improvement districts, in addition to guiding business owners through the various city, state and federal resources for grants, loans and more. Part of the price tag here is also to help fund additional streetscape improvements and even create a fund to help flood-proof commercial properties.
  • Designate Emergency Response & Recovery Centers – $980,000 – 12-month timeframe to find location – This is only a partially funded project. The price tag includes the cost of finding and evaluating potential sites, as well as some construction, equipment and operational costs. But the plan notes that once a site is identified, additional funding would likely be required to activate it. The center is proposed in response to concerns that there was no formal or efficient place for stakeholders to organize, or from which disaster recovery services could operate. This could end up sharing space with an existing or future organization.
  • Pilot small-scale renewable power project - $900,000 – Three-year project – This would establish a small solar-powered backup system for a senior or nursing home in the area to help residents get back into their homes quickly after a disaster event. If it works, it could be rolled out elsewhere with additional funding.
  • Beach grass planting on Coney Island, Brighton Beach - $800,000 – One-year implementation – In cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Parks Department, this plan will see the creation of small dunes and beach grass to be planted on the eastern and western ends of the peninsula’s beach, immediately south of the boardwalk. Similar implementations can be seen in Atlantic City. The grass helps keep the sand where it is – a major concern after Superstorm Sandy, which saw several tons of sand pushed into residential streets and commercial corridors. The dunes also help weaken the force of storm surges. The estimated cost of the project also covers the relocation of water supply valves from the water side of the boardwalk to the land side, a more accessible and protected space for Parks Department access.
  • Boardwalk surge protection at Ocean Parkway and West 25th Street - $750,000 – The Riegelmann Boardwalk has two gaps at these locations that allowed surge waters to push further inland than anywhere else on the boardwalk. The price tag here covers a study to assess the best way to plug the gaps, which could include reconstructing the berms beneath the boardwalk, as well as part of the construction cost. More funding will likely be needed.
  • Southern Brooklyn Emergency Response plan - $640,000 – Two-year project – Pretty self-explanatory. Identify who the local groups on the ground are, and make sure city, state and federal agencies are working with them before, during and after a disaster event.
  • Vocational training program  – $500,000 – $750,000 – Two-year project – Employment on the peninsula was bad before the storm, and worse after it. With all the projects being proposed, the committee hopes to create the workforce needed by employing local high school graduates. This proposal creates a vocational high school curriculum, and connects students with local internship opportunities.
  • Energy resiliency for NYCHA and Mitchell-Lama properties – $340,000 – Two-year study – NYCHA and Mitchell-Lama residents are still suffering from heat, hot water and power breakdowns in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. This study is to figure out the best way forward, which could include creating green solutions, or the creation of independent, flood-proof “micro-grids” that keep the densely populated housing facilities full of vulnerable residents up and running during and after a storm. Once the options are figured out, funding will need to be obtained to carry it out, which is believed to be in excess of $10 million.
  • Disaster preparedness outreach campaign - $160,000 – Two-year project – Following complaints that disaster preparedness and recovery information was poorly distributed to non-English speakers and elderly residents, the campaign would seek better ways to reach those audiences and hold preparedness workshops that suit their needs.
  • Storm surge protection for Sheepshead Bay -  $100,000 – Two-year project – New York Rising stakeholders for Manhattan Beach repeatedly complained that much of their flooding came from the Sheepshead Bay side of the peninsula, not the ocean. As such, they’re proposing a “reconnaissance study” to identify viable options to keep the bay contained in future storms. If some options seem doable, a feasibility study will commence, and then implementation. There is not yet funding for either the feasibility study or the implementation.

ridersThe Riders Alliance, an advocacy organization for subway and bus riders, is launching an initiatve to bring together Southern Brooklyn straphangers to demand improved public transportation services.

To kick off the initiative, they’re holding a brainstorming session on March 27, at 7:00 p.m., at the Homecrest Presbyterian Church (1413 Avenue T). It’s an any-idea-goes kind of event.

The group has been going neighborhood to neighborhood since it formed in 2012 and setting up local, grassroots coalitions to advocate for improved service.

From their website:

We believe that lawmakers respond best to their own constituents, and that an organized group of local residents, trained and empowered to demand results, fills an important gap in transit advocacy, helping win the sustainable, long-term funding needed to fix public transit in New York.

You can sign up to attend  here. There’ll be snacks.

Click for full flier

Click for full flier

A group of city planners and neighborhood activists will be meeting tomorrow, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. to begin creating a new comprehensive vision of the Sheepshead Bay waterfront’s commercial and recreational corridors.

The public forum, open to all and taking place at the Kings Bay Y Emmons Avenue Annex at 2801 Emmons Avenue, is organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and NYU’s Wagner Capstone Team. Support for the initiative is being provided by Empower Sheepshead.

The Capstone program is doing the groundwork of the initiative, researching, conducting site visits, attempting to organize a merchant association and conducting interviews with local stakeholders.

The point of the plan is to come up with a slate of new proposal to reinvigorate the business and recreational life of Sheepshead Bay. The planners are looking to hear from residents and business owners on ideas to unify, beautify, strengthen and enrich the waterfront for years to come.

And while there have been many meetings on the future of Sheepshead Bay since Superstorm Sandy, the Capstone program has a record to stand behind of getting things done in New York City neighborhoods.

The program partners student planners with nonprofit organizations to help solve real-world business and planning problems. They’ve previously drawn up a vision to increase business along Bay Ridge’s 4th Avenue, and elements of that are currently being put into effect with help from city agencies. They’re also behind the proposals to reactivate the Crown Heights Armory.

Back Home

One of the things we noticed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy is that affected areas with strong, active civic groups rebounded a little faster than the rest. Sheepshead Bay is just not one of those neighborhoods.

Enter Empower Sheepshead, a new group funded by the Brooklyn Community Foundation to help spur the formation of civic groups, block associations and community organizations across the neighborhood and network them together into a stronger Sheepshead Bay.

To get things rolling, Empower Sheepshead is bringing together a handful of aspiring community leaders from across Sheepshead Bay to teach them how to organize their blocks and buildings and ultimately train more leaders. The workshop is led by NeighborWorks America, a congressionally chartered nonprofit whose sole business is training future grassroots leaders.

We were informed yesterday that, due to a few last-minute cancellations, there are spaces available for tomorrow’s program. So if you want to be at the forefront of community growth and development in Sheepshead Bay, and aspire to be a leader in the neighborhood, this is the place to start and get some free, hands-on training.

The group is looking for interested people who live or work in Sheepshead Bay, as defined by Emmons Avenue and Neptune Avenue to the south, Kings Highway to the north, Knapp Street to the east, and Ocean Parkway to the west.

The workshop is tomorrow, December 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Shorefront Y (3300 Coney Island Avenue).

This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those looking to build a bright future for the neighborhood, or for those seeking a future in grassroots organizing. Neighbors who complete the one-day training will also be considered for paid positions with Empower Sheepshead as community reps, acting as the conduit of information and action between local communities and the Empower umbrella organization.

If you’re interested, please e-mail Vadim Shiglik as soon as possible at vshiglik@empowersheepshead.org.

Disclosure: Sheepshead Bites’ publisher Ned Berke is a consultant to Empower Sheepshead.

Source: Brian Holt / Flickr

Source: Brian Holt / Flickr

Searching for a job is more than submitting your resume to job boards or company websites. Learn what it means to hunt employment and prepare yourself for a better job search at a workshop by Single Stop Employment Services, November 13 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Kings Bay Y – Emmons Avenue, 2801 Emmons Avenue between East 28th Street and East 29th Street.

In this workshop, you will learn the importance of having an organized job search “campaign.” Armed with a schedule, you will be provided with ways to create a plan of action, find jobs in the hidden market, and how to follow up on potential opportunities.

To register, contact Laura Mezhiborsky by phone at (718) 648-7703 extension 227 or email at lora@kingsbayy.org. For more information, you may also contact FEGS at (212) 524-1790, email connecttocare@fegs.org or go to www.ParnossahWorksFEGS.org.

The event is sponsored by the Kings Bay Y, Shorefront Y and the Bensonhurst Jewish Community House.

Lincoln H.S. (Source: Google Maps)

New York Rising, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reconstruction program designed to spur grassroots planning for storm resiliency, will hold its planning workshop for the Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Manhattan Beach communities tomorrow, October 22, at 7:00 p.m. in Abraham Lincoln High School’s cafeteria (2800 Ocean Parkway).

The workshops are the first public opportunity in the $750 million initiative aimed at recruiting locals in identifying key community assets and their thoughts on the best way to protect them from future disasters.

As part of the program, officials and consultants have already had several private meetings with local committees of stakeholders and activists, who helped draw up a roster of initial proposals.

The public meetings – two of which were held earlier in the month for the Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach planning committees – turn to the broader public to add more input and refine the plan.

It’s an important step in helping direct spending from the state government in local communities, and turnout is important.

The meeting should end by 9:00 p.m.

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

buildbackState Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I) today has announced a series  of  new  measures  his  office  is  taking  to assist residents and business  owners  who  suffered  damage due to Superstorm Sandy.  Following last  week’s announcement from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, creating the New York  City  Build  It Back Grant program, Senator Golden is teaming up with both  Neighborhood Improvement Association and The Mayor’s Housing Recovery Office  in  order  to give direct assistance in with grant applications and helping to provide more detailed information.

Starting this week and continuing throughout the application period,  State Senator  Golden and the Neighborhood Improvement Association are sponsoring office  hours  at  2738 Gerritsen Avenue to assist residents in filling out the City’s new Sandy grant program application “Build it Back.”  The office will be open:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday from 2pm – 5pm
Tuesday from 2pm – 7pm

On  Sunday,  June  23rd,  from  12pm to 4pm, Senator Golden and the Mayor’s Housing  Recovery  Office  are  hosting  a  Forum at PS 277 located at 2529 Gerritsen  Avenue.   Multiple agencies will be answering questions on Sandy grants and issues.

“The reason why I ran for public office was to be a public servant. Helping my  constituents is the most important part of my job as State Senator, and to be able to provide those most in need following the storm is not only my responsibility, but the right thing to do,” said Senator Golden.  “I invite all  who  have  been  effected  by  Sandy to visit my office, or attend the forum, to get more information and fill out a grant application.”

For  more  information  on  both the Forum and help with grant applications please call 718-238-6044.

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