Babylon neighbors call for extra protections to keep floodwaters at bay

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BABYLON -

As Long Island braces for a storm set to bring heavy rain on Monday, some South Shore residents who are fed up with chronic flood woes are calling for extra protections.

Residents living near Fred Shore Beach in Babylon say that every time it rains, water comes up over a bulkhead, backs up in the storm drains, and completely floods the block. They say it's been going on for years.

"Driving our cars through it, bringing the kids to the bus, it's a nightmare. You got to put on hip waders," says neighbor Jerry Hogan.

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Using money from the state, the town plans to replace the bulkhead at the end of Little East Neck Road. It plans to raise a section of the bulkhead into an L-shape to reduce flooding on the street. But many residents want the bulkhead to extend through the beach.

However, the town says it can't do that because it's private property. Babylon officials say that by law, they can't use the grant money from the state on the private beach.

In a letter to the Fred Shores Beach Club, Babylon Commissioner Victoria Russell writes, "I would recommend that you reach out directly to [the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery] to see if there is any funding that can be made available for the project."

Town officials also aim to raise the road on East Shore Drive to reduce flooding in the neighborhood.

Neighbors are hopeful the work will bring improvements.

"It's a Bandaid," says resident Lisa Ludwig. "But one we've been waiting a very long time for."

A spokesperson for the town of Babylon says work on the bulkhead is expected to start by the end of spring, and finish in the fall.

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