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LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The Long Beach boardwalk is back and better than ever.
The final nail has been drilled into the brand new $42 million boardwalk nearly a year after the original 2.2-mile walkway was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared the “boardwalk is better than before.”
“Today the boardwalk is fully reopened, bringing back to the Long Beach community not only an iconic local treasure, but a major tourist attraction that helps support local businesses and jobs,” Cuomo stated. “One year after the flood waters caused so much damage and destruction here on Long Island, the newly restored boardwalk is both a symbol of the resilience and strength of Long Beach as well as the unwavering spirit of the many hard-hit communities across our state that are building back better and stronger than before.”
“Today is truly a milestone for the community of Long Beach — as well as the entire island — as we nail in the last board and fully reopen the new boardwalk, which will serve as a symbol of how far we have come in one year,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano stated.
“I can feel a sense of pride and hope among the entire community because this truly shows how far we’ve come in the year since Sandy struck,” City Manager Jack Schnirman added.
Residents said they were thrilled to have the boardwalk back.
“It’s going to feel like everything is almost back to normal around here,” one man said.
“It’s just absolutely incredible,” one woman said.
“It’s great for riding, it’s great for skateboarding, biking, running, even rollerblading — anything you want to do it seems like,” skateboarder Jonathan Tand said.
For residents the reopening of the iconic boardwalk means the restoration of a year round lifeline, CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“We were here when they tore it down. We were here for the storm. My daughter Leah saw it all happen,” Christopher Spinner said.
It’s not the first time that the boardwalk has had to be rebuilt.
When the hurricane of 1938 hit WPA money for the boardwalk served as a short term fix.
“Back in the 30′s my grandfather went to Washington as a Long Beach councilman to get money to re-do the boardwalk,” Liz Murdy, Long Beach Civic Association, explained.
The new boardwalk, made of sustainable hardwoods and concrete, is stronger, safer, and smarter. It comes complete with old time benches and light poles and an old time retaining wall designed to protect the boardwalk from future storms.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has picked up the tab for most of the project, but Cuomo said the state will cover a $9.3 million shortfall in funding for the costs of rebuilding the boardwalk.
Upgrades to the boardwalk include stronger tropical hardwood that’s supposed to last 50 years, a new retaining wall and energy-saving LED lighting.
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