Report:NY Rising Public Outreach Meeting

Lido Beach and Point Lookout group:
http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/community/lido-beach-and-point-lookout

NY Rising FAQ :
http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/faq

I was all on board and ready to publish pretty much whatever they wanted to get out, and then… I found I could not.

The Report

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 was the initial Lido Beach and Point Lookout “Public Engagement Meeting” from the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program being administered by Sustainable Long Island.

The local committee of this is made up of local leaders of civic associations and other groups including Point Lookout Civic Association, Lido Homes Civic Association, Lido Dunes Civic Association and other local residents.

Several dozen additional residents in attendance from Lido and Point Lookout, myself included, participated in discussions to help hone in on what our public assets are, what needs to be fixed, and other strategies that could be developed for dealing with future emergencies.

The resident groups were tasked with choosing a mission statement and the far greater majority supported the one that took the extra step of creating future resiliencies against emergencies and disasters. The groups identified local assets and needs on a map of the area. Then they discussed what the problems were and what needed to be worked on.

Some great ideas and insights were forwarded by residents. NYS Rising and Sustainable LI are going to figure out what is feasible to do and what can be done.

It was good that this involves both Lido and Point Lookout communities which are tied together by the school system, water system and fire departments. It was good to reach beyond just our town and to help people understand each other.

There were numerous areas of agreement and forward looking ideas.

In these meetings it was also very obvious that, at least the perceived needs of each of the communities seem drastically different. Lido Beach residents continually mentioned they need to be protected from sewage backups and flooding coming up from storm drains during any future storms.

Point Lookout people were mainly concerned about flooding on the bay side of town and revetment of the North End of Jones Inlet where we had the most flooding.

Both groups are talking about infrastructure projects that will require millions of dollars and do need to be done. Unfortunately we’re only looking at $3 million here for our two communities representing something near 8 miles of coastline and bayfront.

But, we are being told that our ideas may get acted on if future monies become available.

It was obvious we are stronger working together, than apart.

My Take

I was pretty hyped on the situation and wanted to do what I could to help spread the word, as tables went empty, and maybe get more people involved. I was encouraged by people on site there that this would be great.

Let’s face it: People are busy. Can everyone who potentially has answers or great ideas make a meeting right after work hours that was e-blast announced only 4 days in advance?

The first meeting was during daytime business hours. Because of this, the committees are almost entirely retirees and civic association presidents. Nothing wrong with that, and my sincere thank you to all who are working for our community! I believe we should try to include everyone else if possible, but of course not delay for that.

So I figured I would try to help reach out to the rest of our community and let them know how they could find out what is going on, get involved and/or contribute.

I had some questions I could not find the answers to on my own. Those answers would help make that happen.

I know we are working in uncharted territory with all this, and I know people are working hard to make this all a success, so maybe confusion is to be expected.

I just ran into a brick wall.

    Here are the questions I asked- first in person which caused a big runaround, so we agreed it was getting late so they went to email: (these are direct quotes )

  • Where or how can people sign up to be automatically notified of the process, rather than have to seek out the next meetings, updates, information?
  • How can the public follow this process and find where it is at any given time?
  • How might they contribute, add suggestions, find this information.
  • Can residents that didn’t attend fill out any of these forms like the blue comment form from this evening? If so, where can that be found? ( I was told yes to this in person but can find no way to do this )
  • What else can be done to involve the community at large that was not here?
  • Who would be the contact person and how would I contact them to address any further questions about our group?

I thought those were just basic, totally not “loaded” questions toward public outreach, even if I got a pat, political, non-answer of “we’re working on it”.

The official reply was my options (and thus, YOURS) are to

  • “check the website”(already established with them the info isn’t there and still isn’t after 10 days ) ,
  • “like” the NY Rising Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/NYStormRecovery
    (Which covers ALL the communities involved statewide and only after the events. Right now, after 10 days, the only thing is a single picture of the backs of heads at our meeting.),
  • or

  • call the governors office at 518.474.8418

Plus a mention about info being sent to their “distribution list” which my follow up questions what that meant and how others could get on it, sent via reply email were completely unacknowledged.

If anyone has any information or insights to these questions or would like to help me reach out to the community that could not attend, or would like to report to our community information they should know, please update me and everyone else here to get the word out.

Anyone in the Long Beach group, who are ahead of us in the process, have any insights?

I WILL be at the next meeting and WILL publicize that information when I get the notification I signed up to receive.

FOR THE RECORD:
I personally stand to gain NOTHING monetarily from NYS Rising and my only interest is that of my neighbors who need help and the forward going protection of my town from sea level rise, emergencies and storms.
I feel strongly to be involved and speak to protection and preservation and mitigation.
Why ?

I plan to live here a long time.

I want to offer my best suggestions and have my and any other helpful voices heard to protect ourselves, our families, our property and our community for THE FUTURE.
I have no axe to grind against ANYONE involved, in fact I’ve followed and admired Sustainable LI for a long time.

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