Task Force To Guide SIers In Recovery Efforts
Staten Island communities looking to recover from Sandy are waiting to hear what a city task force will recommend, as earlier this week, the mayor announced he's resurrecting the borough's Growth Management Task Force to help decide how to rebuild. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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Nearly every home along a roughly quarter-mile strip of Cedar Grove Avenue felt the punch of Hurricane Sandy.
For some, the damage came mostly from the storm surge, with windows knocked out and the first floors of their homes flooded.
For others, the storm brought complete destruction.
"The whole 12 foot, 12 foot straight through the house," said Rich Romano, whose home was damaged by the storm. "Cars gone, tools gone, everything. My whole living is over."
Romano doesn't know yet what will happen to his house. It's questions like that that led the city to announce a task force earlier this week, to focus on how to rebuild the many communities devastated by the storm.
Officials said it will likely be a mix of city, state and federal agencies, although the group's exact makeup and agenda are still to be ironed out.
"We need to get people, the right people, decision makers, in the room," said City Councilman James Oddo. "These are complex issues. These issues change not only community by community, but sometimes within the very community."
Residents are hoping a task force can help them decide whether or not their houses are even worth rebuilding. Many said they're stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for weeks to hear back from their insurance companies.
"We don't know what's next step to take," said Steve Chati, whose home was damaged by the storm. "Until we get an answer, we can't make any decision just yet."
Oddo said it's likely there will be an announcement with specifics about the committee on Friday. He said one issue the the group has to focus on immediately is the possibility of setting up a program that would let some residents who don't want to rebuild sell what's left of their homes and property to the government. After that, he said, should come questions about what to build and how to build smarter and safer.