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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bridgeport: Big Plans for Storm Resilience, But No Money

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By Neena Satija

www.ctmirror.org

Bridgeport—For a city that’s staked its future on revitalizing the waterfront—and been hammered by Tropical Storm Irene, Superstorm Sandy and the recent blizzard—Bridgeport has a lot of work to do.

And a lot of ideas. “We’ve got to find a way to fortify our city against these floods, and the most vulnerable are the poorest,” said Mayor Bill Finch. In a recent interview, he talked about raising up seawalls, building dikes and even tidal gates that could open and close during extreme weather.

At the moment, though, there’s no money for any of it.Federal Emergency Management Agency money in the state is meant for replacement—not redesign, “even though it’ll reduce exposure in the future,” said David Kooris, the city’s director of economic development. FEMA dollars meant for fortification are slow in coming: Bridgeport is still waiting to hear back on an application for $5 million to install a berm along Seaside Park, which was submitted after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

“The federal government is going to have to be more flexible,” Kooris said.

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Posted 02/20 at 09:50 PM

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