As cities across the tri-state compete for federal money to Sandy-proof their communities, one town is almost finished with its own hurricane-proofing -- and didn't use any state or federal money. Brian Thompson reports. (Published Monday, Mar 31, 2014)
A New Jersey town is almost finished building a five-mile string of dikes that officials believe will protect homeowners from the next major storm, officials tell NBC 4 New York.
It's all being done in Secaucus without any federal or state money, even as other communities are competing in a Rebuild by Design program in search of federal money to Sandy-proof their towns.
Mayor Michael Gonnelli said his town can't wait.
"You can see what's happening all over the world with climate change," Gonnelli said, adding: "It's inevitable something like Sandy will happen again."
So the Secaucus public works department, along with a contractor for some of the work, has been getting free rock and dirt where possible to build the dike around all of the low-lying neighborhoods in town, 11 feet above sea level.
There are just a few gaps left, but Gonnelli hopes to have all if not most of them filled by the end of this year.
Homeowners such as Artie Blancato, who said he lost everything to Sandy, is a believer.
"If the mayor says it's gonna work, it'll work," said Blancato.
Gonnelli estimates the total cost so far at around $100,000.
And he said Secaucus, almost surrounded by the Hackensack River as well as marshland, will get another benefit besides flood protection: the tops of the dikes are being prepared for walking and bicycle trails.