The city and state have secured necessary federal funding to begin construction on a $615 million sea wall in Staten Island, representing a significant step for a years-in-the-making plan to protect one of the city’s most vulnerable communities from rising sea levels.

Built to withstand a 300-year-storm, the project will also serve as a recreational promenade that will accommodate runners, bikers, as well as outdoor concerts and festivals.

Under an agreement between the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Staten Island levee project will receive $400 million in federal funds, according to press releases from city and state officials on Wednesday. Of the remaining funding needed, the state will contribute $150 million and the city will give $65 million.

The plan consists of a series of levees, berms, and seawalls stretching 5.3 miles from Staten Island’s eastern shore neighborhoods of Fort Wadsworth to Great Kills. Back in 2012, Hurricane Sandy wreaked devastation on the east and south shores of Staten Island. Of the 43 people killed in NYC, 23 lived in Staten Island. Almost 30 percent of the homes in the borough were destroyed, according to the city.

First unveiled by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015, the sea wall project got a major injection of funding in 2017, when it was allocated $151 million from the state.

The state has said the project could break ground in 2019, with an expected completion date of 2022.

Since Hurricane Sandy, New York City has strengthened its infrastructure but has been slow to construct storm-proofing measures that would make the city more resilient against storm surges. In Manhattan, architect Bjarke Ingels is part of a team leading a plan to build a project known as "Big U," a 10-mile u-shaped barrier surrounding the most vulnerable parts of Lower Manhattan. (However, those plans have been significantly altered, and the city will no longer renovate East River Park.)

While many Staten Island homeowners chose to repair and remain in their homes after Sandy, others took advantage of state and city buyouts in a process known as strategic, or "managed" retreat, allowing the land to act as a natural storm barrier and stopping the cycle of construction, destruction, and reconstruction.

In a statement, Governor Andrew Cuomo touted the importance of the sea wall plan. "This innovative project will protect Staten Islanders from future devastating storms, enhance access to the shore, create thriving wetlands and bring peace of mind to the diverse communities that live along the coastline," he said.

Similarly, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the project "a huge win for the people of Staten Island," adding, "It is critical that we invest in the resiliency of our city in the face of climate change."