FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 29, 2015
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AFTER 3 YEARS, NYCHA’S LONG-AWAITED SANDY RECOVERY ENTERS NEW PHASE
Red Hook Senior Center reconstruction begins as NYCHA launches new Sandy Recovery progress webpage
NEW YORK— Marking the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced progress in transitioning more recovery work from the planning to the construction phase with the start of a complete rebuild of the Red Hook Senior Center—a center which suffered severe storm damage and has remained closed since the storm. Facing the most costly and destructive disaster to affect NYCHA property and residents in 80 years, NYCHA’s restoration and rebuilding efforts have been directly tied to the access and pace of recovery funding.
After nearly three years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reached an agreement with NYCHA earlier this year to provide $3 billion in Sandy recovery assistance—the largest single award in FEMA history. As funding begins to flow for recovery and resiliency projects, NYCHA has also created a SandyRecovery webpage, which provides information on recovery projects and will be built-out with additional features, such as an interactive map with funding, progress and contractor information.
“As we preserve the future of public housing in New York City, we must rebuild and strengthen the NYCHA developments hard hit from Hurricane Sandy,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “By putting these resources to work whether we are replacing roofs or rebuilding senior centers—NYCHA is helping improve the quality of life for thousands of residents.”
“With much-needed recovery dollars in place, NYCHA residents and communities affected by Sandy will begin to see construction and progress in a very real way,” said Shola Olatoye, NYCHA Chair and CEO. “As NYCHA builds back our buildings stronger and more resilient than ever before, we are committed to transparency and communication with our residents and community members on our progress. We are committed to quickly and responsibly moving all our recovery projects to completion—our residents have waited long enough."
Sandy storm waters left the Red Hook Senior Center in complete disrepair after 5 feet of water left catastrophic damage to critical systems and infrastructure in the building. NYCHA’s Disaster Recovery team, in close partnership with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Council Member Carlos Menchaca, have been regularly meeting with Red Hook Houses residents and seniors at informational sessions to review design and proposed services for the new center. With the assistance of recovery funding and $1.8 million allocated by the New York City Council, NYCHA has started work on the $2.9 million project to rebuild the center. The new Red Hook Senior Center will have a complete interior renovation to repurposethe building, including brand new bathrooms, kitchen, sewing room, exercise room, computer lab, multipurpose room, an administrative office and more. The center is estimated to be complete within the next eight months.
“Three years after Sandy struck, our communities and public housing facilities continue the work of recovery. The Red Hook Senior Center, in particular, was an invaluable community anchor that was all but lost to the storm. I’m excited to see that with federal funds and resources a new facility is underway, which will ultimately provide an important space for seniors to come together and receive the services they deserve,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY.)
“The anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Sandy serves as a reminder of the incredible work of resiliency that has been done by this, and other communities. It also reminds us of the work that remains--including a stable, open, and warm senior center for local residents. I commend NYCHA on their responsiveness to our request for openness and communication, and on making sure that this project moves forward in a timely fashion. I look forward to continuing to work with the Housing Authority and with our seniors to ensure the successful, and timely completion of this project,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
Additionally, FEMA has started to obligate some of the $3 billion in recovery funds, which means NYCHA can move forward with sending contracts out for bidding and awards. To date, FEMA has obligated $92.6 million for Coney Island Houses and $21.1 million for Coney Island Site 1B and $24.5 million for Carleton Manor in the Rockaways. Pre-construction work, including boiler demolition, asbestos abatement, electrical feeder line replacement, and crawl space and boiler room restoration are currently underway ahead of permanent repairs in Brooklyn (Coney Island Houses, Gravesend, Surfside Gardens, Red Hook East) and Downtown Manhattan (Riis II.)
A Fact Sheet on NYCHA’s Recovery & Resiliency Program is attached with additional information.
"Every New Yorker deserves to live in safe, decent housing and have community services available to them," said New York CityPublic Advocate Letitia James. "Three years following Hurricane Sandy, many residents of our City are still struggling to rebuild. We welcome today's announcement showing real progress at the Red Hook Senior Center, which will provide services for so many in the community."
“The Senior residents of Red Hook East and Red Hook West had a thriving center that provided them with a place to learn, laugh, and enjoy the companionship of their friends. And then came Superstorm Sandy which destroyed their Center, a very great loss,” said New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “I am very happy the NYCHA understands the importance of this facility to these very important residents and is expediting the completion of a NEW Senior Center! Thank you, NYCHA!”
“I am pleased that our Red Hook Seniors are now able to see construction underway to rebuild their Senior Center,” said New York State Assembly Assistant Speaker Feliz Ortiz. “I look forward to joining everyone when the new center opens. My seniors have endured Hurricane Sandy's aftermath for far too long. This construction is long overdue. Everyone deserves the best housing New York has to offer.”
“On behalf of everyone that has been waiting patiently for the reconstruction of the Red Hook Senior Center, which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, I am pleased that work is now beginning to help bring this neighborhood back to where it deserve to be,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Sandy washed away hope and normalcy in coastal communities like Red Hook, and it is our job to build that back up better than before. I appreciate Chair Olatoye's efforts to move NYCHA forward in an ongoing recovery process from this unprecedented natural disaster, and I will continue to partner on any efforts that will accelerate progress for the people living in impacted public housing across Brooklyn.”
"The beginning of reconstruction of the Red Hook Senior Center is great news for the residents who rely on the facility. Senior centers provide vital resources and programming to thousands of elderly residents in public housing, and deserve maintenance and upgrades. I look forward to seeing improvements at NYCHA's senior centers and developments impacted by Hurricane Sandy across the city," said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing.
“This is certainly welcome news for Red Hook residents, and I am sure there is still more work to do in Red Hook. We need to be mindful that there are other impacted communities still waiting for their repairs and their resiliency efforts so they can all return to a sense of normalcy and safety. This is a good first step but there is much more work to do, and I look forward to seeing a complete recovery in all Sandy-affected communities,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Brooklyn Delegation Co-Chair and Chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency.
“When we lost our senior center from Hurricane Sandy, we lost an important part of the community that brought residents together,” said Ms. Beatrice Byrd, NYCHA Resident Board Member and former President of the Red Hook West Resident Association. “I appreciate NYCHA making the Red Hook Senior Center a priority and I’m pleased to already see progress underway.”
“The reconstruction of the Red Hook senior center has been long-planned, and residents, who have been involved in the planning development, are excited that we’re moving forward. Red Hook seniors are eager to enjoy the center’s new services including a new sewing room, exercise room, computer lab, and multipurpose room,” said Ms. Frances Brown, the President of the Red Hook East Resident Association.