State of New York
Economic Resiliency Analysis – Staten Island’s South and East Shores, NY
In response to climate change and its increasing impact on residents and businesses, New York State established the New York Community Reconstruction Program to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to areas impacted by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. This program facilitates community redevelopment planning with the aim of increasing an area’s resiliency to future storms and environmental threats.
RESGroup was tasked with evaluating the economic resiliency on the Island’s South and East Shores which experienced some of the worst Sandy damage within the City. Commercial corridors including Midland Avenue, Sand Lane, and portions of Hylan Boulevard had significant flooding and physical damage, but businesses throughout the area were also impacted by utility interruptions, limited access to the businesses, a displaced customer base, delays in receiving insurance funds, and gasoline rationing. Data regarding the type, size, and annual revenues of the 3,500 businesses on the South and East Shores was obtained, and the 500 businesses located in the high- and extreme-risk flood areas were identified. Generally, these businesses were smaller-scale enterprises, with less than five employees per firm, and concentrated in the health care, retail, and food service sectors. Annual sales and real estate taxes for the at-risk businesses were estimated at a high-level to quantify the potential revenue impact to the State and City in future storm events.
To supplement this data, RESGroup together with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and College of Staten Island, surveyed businesses in the riskier flood areas to learn about their business type, their size, history in the area, the impact of Sandy on their operation, and the usefulness of the available assistance and recovery programs. The survey results were also supported by interviews with local organizations that assisted businesses in Sandy’s aftermath, including the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and College of Staten Island’s Small Business Development Center.
Combined, RESGroup utilized the economic business data, surveys, and interviews to create strategies to increase the economic resilience of the South and East Shores of Staten Island, identifying a list of potential projects and policies to achieve this goal.
RESGroup also performed an analysis of the local population and housing stock to understand resident and housing characteristics in the neighborhoods most at risk to future flooding. This analysis, which considered factors such as the age, income, and size of resident households, also supported the economic resiliency evaluation, as businesses on the Island rely heavily on local residents for both customers and employees.
RESGroup’s work on the South and East Shore Staten Island proposal resulted in a $3 million dollar award for “Best Approach to Resilient Economic Growth” beating out 49 other submissions. These funds will assist businesses in rebuilding their properties and operations impacted by Sandy, strengthen and organize local business advocacy and support groups, and increase the area’s economic resiliency to future weather events.