The Town of Fairfield is receiving more than $1.1 million in state and federal aid to help pay for the continuing repairs of damage cause by Super Storm Sandy in 2012.
In an announcement yesterday, Gov. Dannel Malloy said the grants administered by the federal goverment are earmarked for improvements to multi-family housing, infrastructure and public facilities and for planning purposes in cities and towns affected by Super Storm Sandy.
The good news is that Fairfield will be receiving more than a half-million dollars to cover the costs of redesigning the Penfield Pavillion which was destroyed by Sandy, less than a year after the $5 million beachfront facility opened, town officials said. The other grants will cover upgrading the Pine Creek culvert to minimize flooding in that area of town as well as repairing the town's outfall pipe from the sewage treatment plant into Long Island Sound.
“Given that extreme weather events like Sandy that were considered once in a century events have now become annual occurrences, it’s not a matter of if, but when that next storm will hit Connecticut’s shoreline communities,” Malloy said in a statement. “With these grants, we are not only helping these communities overcome the devastating impacts of one of the most severe storms in Connecticut’s history, but we’re also helping them to establish resiliency plans so they can be better prepared for future storms.”
The announcement of the three Fairfield grants totaling $1,154,500 of the $31.4 million in grants Malloy announced on Tuesday.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau said he was "thrilled to receive this." However, the town continues to deal with state and federal agencies to resolve details on the projects."It's not free money," Tetreau said. The town continues to file documentation to federal and state officials on the damage cause by the Octboer 2012 storm.
Here's a rundown of what the town will receive
- Penfield Pavilion Repair, Public Facilities Award — $500,000. The project involves repairing Superstorm Sandy related damage to Penfield pavilion at the very popular Fairfield Beach between Long Island Sound and Fairfield Beach Road. The project will include repairs to key structural components, all utilities and raising the building above the 100-year base flood elevation.
- Pine Creek Culvert Upgrade, Infrastructure Award — $560,000. The proposed project includes upsizing the 48-inch single culvert under Pine Creek dike to twin 60" diameter NDPE pipes and sluice gates and adding a new 48-inch pipe and a self-regulating tide gate for a total of three new culverts. The culverts drain a 310-acre area containing approximately 1,187 residential units.
- Water Pollution Control Facility Outfall Pipe, Infrastructure Award — $74,500. The pipe repair will prevent future leaks and will clear a flow restriction that was a result of damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. The selected repairs involve excavating to expose a damaged joint, and constructing a poured exterior concrete collar using bentonite water stops to structurally seal and immobilize the separated pipe joint.
Regarding the Pine Creek project, Tetreau said, "I am thrilled that Governor Malloy, the Department of Housing and Commissioner Klein are continuing to help out our coastal communities as we continue recovery from Storm Sandy."
The key to the Pine Creek project is that it will more than double the capacity of pumping water out of low-lying areas, according to Joe Michelangelo, Fairfield's Department of Public Works director. "We hope to put a shovel in the ground in 90 days ... it will take four to six months to complete," Michelangelo said.
The outfall pipe project grant will cover the costs of making repairs to the pipe that carries treated sewage from the town's treatment plant about a quarter-mile from shore into the middle of Long Island Sound, Michelangelo said. Teatreau said he was "thrilled" that the grant will cover the total cost the project that should take six to nine months to complete.
The restoration Penfield Pavillion project is one that apparently that will take more time. According to Tetreau and Michelangelo, the pavillion committee is reviewing initial design plans whle trying to meet new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations for construction in flood zones. The $500,000 grant will cover initial design costs and future costs to come up with a final design plan.
Part of the issue is whether the current layout and design of the pavilion will meet new FEMA flood zone guidelines, officials said. The 60-by-200-foot building that housed, lifeguard, concession, restroom and lock facilities opened less than a year before the storm destroyed it, Michelangelo said.
Tetreau said the pavillion building committee is reviewing design options which includes consideration of whether the existing pilings can be use or new elevated pilings will be needed, to meet the FEMA regulations.
The total cost of that pavillion project "Is a swing of several million dollars," Tetreau said.