Shoreline communities could lose federal ‘Sandy’ money

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WEST HAVEN -- Twelve shoreline towns received federal funding, to make critical upgrades to their local infrastructure, following Superstorm Sandy, in October of 2012. However, eight, are considered to be behind schedule and in danger of losing unused funding.

Superstorm Sandy devastated so many in October of 2012.

"I live across the street from the shore and watching the water flow by the house," recalled West Haven Mayor Ed O'Brien. "There was trees, just debris flowing. It was like a river going right in front of my house."

O'Brien was not West Haven's Mayor then. But, he's now in charge of spending nearly $4 million in federal funds to complete four projects.

"We in West Haven have been working on our projects and we are in design phase currently," he said. That includes a flood mitigation project on Beach Street, near a marsh.

"We have a dredging project over in that area, on one of the rivers, Old Field Creek. And then we are going to raise the road some five feet," O'Brien said.

But, West Haven has spent none of the federal money yet. The state Department of Housing Commissioner, Evonne Klein, said in a letter to O'Brien that West Haven must show all of that money is allocated to projects by September 30. If not, it could be lost.

"We should be able to meet those deadlines," said O'Brien, confidently.

Fairfield has been granted nearly $7 million federal funding and has completed some projects

"Some of those are in our conservation area, our wetlands, where we put in floodgates, new tidal gates, that type of thing," said Michael Tetreau, the town's First Selectman.

Fairfield will also soon have $2.3 million of their money allotted to creating a berm around the waste water treatment plant, which was flooded out by Sandy.

"What happened last time is it got into the tanks and it killed all of the bacterial population so they had to restart it from scratch basically," said Edward Jones, Fairfield's Open Space Manager.

Tetreau and O'Brien both say the appreciated receiving a reminder letter from Klein. Click here to read the letters sent to each of the eight communities in question.