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Feds eye infrastructure improvements at Reel Point

There’s some promising news on work to shore up Reel Point. 

Councilman and Capital Projects/Grants Committee Chairman Jim Colligan said he and others, including Supervisor Gerry Siller, met with Mark Woolley, an aide to Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) last month and learned the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to tackle a major effort at Reel Point if Congress votes the money to pay for the work. 

While the federal government would be assuming much of the cost, Town Attorney Bob DeStefano Jr. said Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) had told him the state might contribute some money if the Army Corps proceeds with its part of the project.

A more long-term project would be elevating some roads on the Island and helping fund projects to raise ramps at North and South ferries. Both ferry companies have acknowledged the need to raise ramps, but the work doesn’t come cheap.

Town Engineer John Cronin said a Suffolk County study has identified areas critical to prevent flooding. “It’s hoped a sizable grant will be forthcoming to fund a good part of the work,” Mr. Cronin told the Reporter. “Those roads to be identified as already having flooding problems may need to be raised to the base flood elevation plus some additional amount to account for rising sea level. ” Mr. Cronin has begun considering values that might include base flood elevation plus 16 inches (the medium risk value extending out to the 2050s). Just how many roads are so affected could be determined by the work of the Cornell Local Roads Program, the soon to be formed Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency and Sea Level Rise Task Force and local officials tasked with developing hazard mitigation plans.

The planning could require appointment of a flood plain administrator, Mr. Cronin said, who could be someone hired through a shared services agreement with other municipalities.

Another hire that might be needed is someone familiar with compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Mr. Cronin said at some future point, he might have a few days to examine the buildings housing the Police Department and Justice Court to determine what it would take to comply with ADA requirements. But the alternative would be to hire someone with specific experience in that area.