Freeport Mayor: 'This Community Has Beaten Mother Nature'

FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – One of Long Island’s more popular summer hot spots has largely recovered from superstorm Sandy devastation and is ready for the big summer crowds.

There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Freeport on Monday to mark the reopening of the famed Nautical Mile.

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Town officials were on hand to accept $1.3 million in grant money from the National Grid, which will be used to help 45 businesses still struggling to open in time for summer.

“After seven months of rebuilding and National Grid’s help, this community has beaten Mother Nature,” Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said. “It’s the nucleus of the village, I mean everybody knows the Nautical Mile and I believe that the property sales, the businesses, everything revolves around the Nautical Mile.”

Half of the restaurants and some businesses along the Nautical Mile have still not reopened since Sandy but the goal remains to have all eateries and entertainment venues along the stretch ready in time for Memorial Day.

“There’s no better place to be in the world then on the south shore of Long Island in the summer and it starts right here on the Nautical Mile,” Nassau County legislator Dave Denenberg said. “That the south shore is back and it’s back for summer 2013.”

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“We didn’t have one foot of water or two feet of water, but we had five to eight feet of water through the businesses here,” Kennedy said.

Nautical Mile businesses, Freeport, N.Y., May 13, 2013. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Nautical Mile businesses, Freeport, N.Y., May 13, 2013. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Michael Danon of E.B. Elliot’s restaurant said he’s grateful for the grant money. He said he’s spent $1 million to reopen post-Sandy.

“Financially devastated us because we still didn’t get our insurance money, we’ve been waiting for that,” Danon told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

Still, some local officials said the devastation from the storm may prevent some small businesses from ever reopening.

“Some people don’t have the finances at all, even with grants, to reopen,” Freeport Chamber of Commerce President Charles Hirschberg told Rivera.

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