LOCAL, STATE, FEDERAL OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE $2 MILLION INVESTMENT TOWARDS NORTH SHORE SEWER DEVELOPMENT
July 16, 2014 -- With a large sign warning “THIS BEACH IS CLOSED FOR BATHING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE” as a backdrop, Crescent Beach in Glen Cove played host Monday morning to a press conference at which elected local, state and federal officials announced a $2 million investment that will lay the groundwork for the installation of public sanitary sewers in areas of Glen Cove and Sea Cliff.
In addition to providing funding for a feasibility study for sewers in the Crescent Beach area, the grant will also enable Sea Cliff to install sewers along its main business strip (click here for article). Ultimately the goal is to improve the water quality of Hempstead Harbor and to protect the area’s high water table from contamination from septic systems. Crescent Beach, located at the bottom of a hill that acts as a funnel for storm water run-off, has been closed since 2009 due to detection of high levels of bacteria found in human and animal digestive tracts.
County Executive Edward Mangano presided over the press conference and introduced United States Congressman Steve Israel, State Senator Carl Marcellino, State Assemblymen Charles Lavine, County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Glen Cove Mayor Reggie Spinello, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy, and Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee Director Eric Swenson. Each spoke of the importance of expanding sewer service to protect the health of Hempstead Harbor and the water table, as well as of the cooperation between different levels of government and elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, in securing the funding.
"It's important that we reopen Crescent beach so that it once again serves as a beautiful destination for families, seniors and beachgoers," said County Executive Mangano. "The installation of sewers in this North Shore is an important public health intitiative as it will protect the local environment and improve the Long Island Sound so that our recreational fishermen and residents can rely on these waters for enjoyment and business alike."
Congressman Steve Israel thanked the "bipartisan and diverse coalition of elected officials" who joined him "in working tirelessly on finding a comprehensive solution to this issue." In particular he cited the efforts of County Executive Ed Mangano. Referring specifically to Crescent Beach, he said the feasibility study "is stage one." Once the study is completed he said, then it can be brought to the State DEC and Federal EPA who could then advise on the sort of funding and financing that is available for the installation of the sewers. The Congressman also said that the "cost of clean water and infrastructure cannot continue to be put on the backs of local taxpayers - that's not a solution. The Federal government used to pick up the tab for these projects." Now, he continued, the Federal government has "passed the bill" to counties and local governments. "That's not acceptable," he declared. "We need to do what America always did best, to get back into the business of building, get back into the business of infrastructure, . . . and not asking local taxpayers to foot the bill for national needs."
State Senator Carl Marcellino (R, I, C – Oyster Bay) citing the bipartisan effort, said that "there is no such thing as Republican clean water. There is no such thing as Democratic clean water. . . We all drink the same water, breathe the same air and live in the same environment and it is the responsibility of everyone to keep our environment clean. We owe it to the next generation." "Long Island Sound is a major economic engine," he continued, "and if we foul it up, shame on us. We need to protect it and preserve it."
Assemblyman Charles Lavine, like Senator Marcellino, emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in addressing environmental issues. He observed the nearness of Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt’s home, and cited that President’s efforts in conservation. "Our obligation today," he said, "is to present the environment to our children and grandchildren in at least as good a position as we found it, and even in a better position."
Legislator Deriggi-Whitton, who acted as a liaison between different officials in bringing the funding together, said that not only as a legislator, put especially as a parent, protecting the high water table from contamination was of paramount importance. Additionally, she said that she brought her children to Crescent Beach when they were small, and expressed hope that "these actions the County is taking today will help to ensure that Crescent beach is enjoyed for many generations to come."
Mayor Kennedy stated, “This vital $2 million investment will ensure that Sea Cliff Avenue, the Village of Sea Cliff’s main strip of businesses, will be accounted for in this environmental project. I thank County Executive Mangano and Congressman Israel for their work in forming partnerships to find a comprehensive and common sense solution to this issue.” He also
highlighted Legislator Deriggi-Whitton’s role in acting as the “middle person” between the various levels of government in helping to "pull this all together." The Mayor said that without a Sea Cliff Avenue sewer system “it is not possible to create a vibrant, thriving downtown without polluting our waters.”
Eric Swensen of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, noted that 40 years ago Newsday had done an in depth report asking the question “Who's Killing Hempstead Harbor.” As a result of the efforts of individuals, organizations, and different levels of government, he continued, Hempstead Harbor today is significantly cleaner, and as a result 2500 acres of shell fishing grounds were re-opened in 2012. He thanked the officials present and urged the same efforts and level of cooperation going forward.
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