City Councilmember Mark Treyger introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at helping track Sandy recovery efforts and pinpointing ways to minimize damage in risky flood zones amid a series of disastrous hurricanes across the United States.
Working alongside Staten Island Borough President James Odd, Treyger is seeking to create a “Hurricane Sandy Task Force” consisting of people from city agencies, non-profits, faith-based community, and residents. The task force would hold regular meetings to analyze recovery efforts at city agencies and send recommendations to the mayor and City Council. The task force would also explore ways the city could bolster facilities and property in risky flood zones.
“Nearly five years after Hurricane Sandy, our own recovery has not always been smooth, but through those challenges we have gained valuable insight on how to navigate complex aid processes, how to engage survivors and impacted communities as active participants in the recovery process, and how to rebuild stronger, more resilient, more prepared neighborhoods,” said Treyger, who serves as the Chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency. “This task force would allow us to develop a holistic understanding of the recovery process, provide other localities that are now embarking on their own recovery process with an opportunity to learn from our experiences, and give us a chance to use those same experiences to better our own approach.”
The proposal to create a task force comes just weeks after local residents expressed Sandy-related frustration towards Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city at a town hall meeting in Coney Island. One Sandy victim said at the August town hall meeting that she still had not secured stable housing and had taken multiple loans out in the process.
Treyger and de Blasio both expressed their own concerns about “Build it Back,” the city-driven program to help Sandy victims secure new housing. The mayor even said he would not create the program again if he had the choice.
“For those of you who know me, I have not been shy in my critique of ‘Build It Back,’” Councilmember Treyger said at the town hall. “But we do have to acknowledge a very important truth. We lost precious time in the beginning of the program under the previous mayor that had an entirely different setup.”
Many areas across the United States, from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico, have been ravaged by hurricanes in recent weeks. Coney Island businesses raised more than $27,000 through fundraising efforts to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, the Alliance for Coney Island announced last week.
Applebee’s Grill & Bar, Coney Island Brewery, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, Gargiulo’s Restaurant, Luna Park, Nathan’s Famous, the New York Cosmos, Paul’s Daughter, and Totonno’s were among the establishments that raised funds for the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The Brooklyn Cyclones raised money for relief efforts spearheaded by Minor League Baseball Charities.