City to put up money to get schools, hospitals up and running
by Kathleen Lees
Nov 13, 2012 | 5156 views | 0 0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officials announced a $500 million emergency plan this Monday to help make repairs to public schools and hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Repairs include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems, roof repairs and flood remediations at the 37 schools and three public hospitals that have been closed since the storm.

“Our city has never experienced a storm as destructive as Hurricane Sandy, and financing for these repairs is as necessary as it is urgent,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “We are not waiting for federal aid to begin the work of repairing and re-opening them. This emergency capital spending is a vital investment in our recovery and future.”

The City Council approved the emergency capital funds at Tuesday’s City Council hearing, which will allot $200 million for the Department of Education and $300 million for the city Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) to repair damage.

At this time, many of the facilities still remain closed, with most severe damage in public schools and hospital buildings throughout the Rockaways, Staten Island and South Brooklyn.

According to officials, Bellevue Hospital Center, Coney Island Hospital and the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island are still not open.

However, Bellevue will begin outpatient care starting Nov. 19, and Coney Island Hospital will reopen the first week of January, according to HHC.

As Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, comptroller John Liu, and other elected officials announced the emergency repairs fund Monday at P.S. 207 in Howard Beach, one of the schools currently closed, several parents gathered outside with their children.

“My children are just going back to school tomorrow,” said Louisa Gaskell, a local resident who lives on 88th street. Because Gaskell’s home was without power since the storm, her family had been traveling throughout its aftermath. “We just got power back Saturday, but there are still a lot of damages,” she said.

Gaskell said her daughters Grace, 7, and Jessica, 5, would both have to take a bus ride to 232 Lidenwood in Howard Beach until their school was back up and running. “I love this school, I went here when I was a kid,” she said. “But I know they (elected officials) know what they’re doing.”

Also at Monday’s announcement, Bloomberg said he signed an emergency order waiving application and permit fees for contractors repairing buildings damaged by the hurricane.
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