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WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The last of the Long Island state parks shut down by Hurricane Sandy has reopened just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
State parks commissioner Rose Harvey cut the ribbon Thursday morning officially reopening Robert Moses State Park, which was severely damaged in the Oct. 29 storm.
“It’s against all odds that we are here today opening all of our Long Island parks,” Harvey said.
More than 700,000 cubic yards of sand was used to replenish the beach, the boardwalk at Field 5 has been rebuilt and the traffic circle has been repaved, officials said.
“You’ll see some temporary measures,” park spokesman George Gorman told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs. “There will be some temporary railings that’ll be up along the boardwalk cause they’re manufacturing the railing as we speak. We also will have new lifeguard shacks at a couple different locations.”
Long Islanders also welcomed back the Jones Beach State Park boardwalk which reopened at sunrise Thursday.
Both the Jones Beach and Field 5 boardwalks are made of Brazilian hardwood, a more durable and resilient material that is meant to withstand future severe storms.
“Destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc at Robert Moses and Jones Beach State Park; however once again the perseverance and hard work of New Yorkers has allowed us to get all of our parks back open in time for the Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial kick off to summer,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “The beaches are ready, the boardwalk is back, and the parks are open. New York is ready for a great start up to the summer.”
More than 3.5 million people visit Robert Moses State park each year; Jones Beach State Park sees 6 million visitors, parks officials said.
Despite the weather, many couldn’t wait to get back on the beach.
“I’m looking for to it being open, it’s a wonderful thing,” one woman said.
“I’m happy to have it back and everything looks good,” one man said.
The parks are open just in time to welcome huge crowds for the 10th anniversary of the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach which will be held this weekend.
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