Village of Great Neck residents call for re-evaluation of drainage system after Ida damages

Robert Pelaez
Flooding from Ida impacted a handful of homes throughout the Village of Great Neck earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Teppel)

A group of residents from the Village of Great Neck called on local officials to take further measures in recovery efforts from the remnants of Hurricane Ida during Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Wendy Teppel, a resident of the village, spoke on behalf of a neighborhood group composed of a handful of residents residing on Chadwick Road, Plymouth Road and Warwick Road. Teppel, who has served on executive boards at various schools throughout the area, said she has never seen destruction and flooding from a storm like Ida in more than 40 years of living in the village.

“In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve never experienced anything like this last storm,” Teppel said during the meeting.

While a smattering of areas throughout the peninsula were hit with flooding and damage to residential homes, those who live on Chadwick, Plymouth and Warwick have been experiencing inefficient drain systems for years, she said. Teppel said the main floor of her home, and others’, was completely submerged with water, something that did not even occur during Superstorm Sandy.

Teppel, on behalf of the group, recommended village officials establish a committee with community advocates to address the drainage system, hire consultants to survey the effectiveness of the village’s drainage system, and allocate proper funding to ensure that damage to residential homes of this magnitude does not occur again.

Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral, who met with U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and other elected officials, acknowledged the frustrations of residents who suffered damage during the storm.

“I know many people suffered from the flooding we had a couple of weeks ago,” Bral said. “It was just heartbreaking to see what happened to the neighborhood. It was the worst storm I had seen in my life in Great Neck.”

The Great Neck area received roughly three to five inches of rainfall in one hour during the night of the storm, he said.

Bral said he hopes Suozzi and other officials can provide federal relief to the county as soon as possible, but was not told when exactly the funding would be received. Bral touted the idea of establishing a committee to address the issues and said talks have already occurred in the form of having a liaison staying in touch with village officials.

Bral also said he has spoken with village Clerk-Treasurer Abraham Cohan and Deputy Mayor Bart Sobel to see if an engineer could conduct a study of the drainage system. Louis Massaro, the village’s superintendent of public works, said it has been nearly two decades since a study was conducted.

“I think getting an engineer to come in and re-evaluate everything after 18 years is a good idea. We have discussed it,” Bral said. 

Teppel recognized Massaro and the Public Works Department for their service to the community despite the damage to homes.

“Our public works people have helped out many, many times,” she said. “Louis has been very cooperative in helping us over the years.”

Massaro lauded the work of the department and acknowledged how the storm impacted residents, but implored people to call the department if situations like that arise.

“Anybody could have called me that night and said ‘Hey Louis, this thing is really backed up’ and that night, yeah, everything was backed up,” he said. “I don’t know any of my guys, or myself, that wants to see anybody lose their home or anything in their home. I felt just as bad as if it was my own house.”

In terms of funding for potential repairs or other measures needed to prevent damage and flooding from occurring again, Bral said the village would have to wait to get a clearer idea on what needs to be done before making any financial commitments. He said, however, that the village would try to help  those whose homes were damaged during the storm.

“We will do whatever we can in our power, and I can give you my word on that, to make sure that you have, not only the value, but actually have better values hopefully in the near future,” Bral said.

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Robert Pelaez

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