Debris From Fire Island Crashed Into Islip During Oct. 29 Storm

ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One of the last beaches shuttered by Hurricane Sandy is back in business.

There was a ribbon-cutting as Islip Beach officially reopened on Wednesday. As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the comeback means a lot to the Long Island community hard hit by the storm.

A grateful crowd was out enjoying a simple pleasure: the beach on a sizzling day.

“It feel like summer began finally!” one happy beachgoer told Gusoff.

Islip is among the last of Long Island’s beaches to open after Sandy’s devastating blow.

The town beach was washed away during the storm. Its pavilion was tossed off its footings, concessions were shattered, cement walkways were overturned and the boardwalk was demolished when the Oct. 29 storm roared ashore.

Making matters worse, Islip Beach is directly across the Great South Bay from Fire island. When the barrier island was submerged by a tidal surge, all of its debris came crashing ashore on the mainland.

“Docks, construction debris; there were animal carcasses, it was a real disaster,” Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci told Gusoff.

Like so many small municipalities, Islip struggled with the cost and continues to wait for federal grants.

The $25 million to fix parks and beaches came from bonds and from donations.

Volunteers said it was important for them to get the beach reopened this summer.

“You can’t keep people down. You can’t keep their dreams down. No matter what happens, no matter what nature does, we’re back,” volunteer Kay Erwood told Gusoff.

Town officials called the reopening a success story.

“The fact that we’re able to rebuild this is so symbolic of how we have been able to come back from such a devastating storm,” Islip Town Board Member Trish Bergin Weichbrodt said.

The transformation includes new gazebos and facilities built further from the shoreline. The new hardwood boardwalk is moisture and movement resistant to survive the next storm.

The town is still waiting for FEMA to reimburse the costs of the repairs.

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