New Yorkers ask: to rebuild or not? - New York News

Superstorm Sandy

New Yorkers ask: to rebuild or not?

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To rebuild or not to rebuild: that is the question hundreds of Staten Island homeowners are now asking themselves after Sandy destroyed everything.

"Sheet rock is not going to sustain this, what kind of foundations do we need to put, what kind of beams do we need to put in these homes so that if we are hit ever again anywhere close to this, the homes will be able to sustain it," said Theresa Leo.

Leo's home is one of nearly a thousand tagged with a red sticker, declaring it unsafe to occupy. But the stickers don't necessarily mean the homes are a total loss. Rebuilding could be an option.

"I don't know that a house could be higher enough for me to live here, to tell you the truth," Leo said. "With that ocean, I can't hold back the ocean, none of us could, we've been devastated here."

Since the superstorm struck, New York City has collected more than a quarter billion tons of debris.

Lawmakers on Staten Island are divided on how to move forward. Some are calling for a moratorium on building, from six months to a year, so studies can be done on topography, the impact on beaches, and the long-term best interests of residents.

Some proposals would require new homes to be built with brick or on stilts with electrical systems high above ground.

Most say no matter what the city decides, they already know what they are going to do.

"Absolutely rebuild, these are our homes, my family has been here since the 1920s," one resident said. "These are our homes, this is a once in a lifetime event we are coming back."

Another said: "How can we leave our home? We have loved them."

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