Long Beach Residents Lament Slow Boardwalk Rebuilding Process
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LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The sounds of the sea are competing with drilling and hammering in one beachfront Long Island community.
“I miss it, it was like part of my life,” one resident told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff on Wednesday.
“It really takes a lot away not having it,” another Long Beach resident said.
Their beloved boardwalk, an institution since 1938, was chewed up by Sandy. But not everyone is taking the wait in stride.
Some social media posts have been stinging, with locals complaining that the delay is “killing the local economy” because the work “should have been done weeks ago.”
Others posted that they are “so tired of seeing New Jersey is open and we are not,” Gusoff reported.
City officials said comparing Belmar, N.J., which unveiled its new boardwalk last month, to Long Beach is like comparing apples and oranges.
Belmar’s year-round population is one-tenth that of Long Beach. Its boardwalk is narrower and about half as long as the 2.2 miles being rebuilt in Long Beach, Gusoff reported.
“We looked at other boardwalks, how they held up during the storm. And the ones that didn’t hold up, why they didn’t hold up similar to ours,” said Long Beach Public Works Commissioner Jim LaCarrubba.
Officials said they also took time for public input, with surveys and focus groups.
The survey found 88 percent of residents wanted a stronger, more durable boardwalk, so retaining walls are going up. Tropical hardwood boards, which last 10 times longer than the old pine, will be reinforced with concrete, Gusoff reported.
“If we would have just built what was here,” LaCarrubba said, “yeah, it would have been done. It wouldn’t have accomplished anything, though. It would’ve been a big waste of taxpayer money.”
The local crews have been putting up 200 feet of retaining wall each day and officials said the pace will quicken.
One quarter mile of boardwalk facing the most popular beaches will open on July 23. The other 80 percent is expected to be complete by early November, Gusoff reported.
Long Beach officials have asked residents to be patient so the project can be done the right way.
The cost of the new boardwalk is $42 million, much of which will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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