NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – While business on the beach usually look forward to this time of year, that’s not the case at Rockaway Beach where erosion has closed an 11-block stretch of oceanfront.
Now local business owners are reaching out to their state leaders to find out what more is being done, reports CBS2’s Jenna Deangelis.
“We’re definitely taking a big hit,” said Corey Diaz, manager of the Community House Bar and Restaurant.
Rockaway Beach businesses that bank on beach-goers, like Community House, can already feel the impact of a half mile stretch of sand being shut down.
“We usually have people come off the beach,” said Diaz. “They grab a nice cocktail from us in their bathing suits, but they can’t do that anymore obviously because the beach is closed. Less traffic, less business.”
The city parks department closed the 11-block section between beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd, right before the Memorial Day weekend, saying erosion has made it unsafe to keep open.
“I’m gonna say the city definitely didn’t do their part,” said Diaz.
The city may maintain the beach, but it’s up to the federal government to protect it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a study on how to best address erosion here.
The findings will be revealed in a draft report in August, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will take public comment following its release. A final report is expected in November.
The Army Corps predicts it will start work in the impacted area after next summer.
“There are barges that are gonna be pumping sand into Long Beach that will be finished very soon,” said Giancarlo Saldarriaga, Low Tide building and bar manager. “The civic association here has put forward a motion to get us a season on this beach this summer.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter of the Army Corps on May 25 asking them to take emergency action and come up with a way to replenish sand in the affected areas.
“The city started out slowly,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. “The money is there we got $700 million for this project, so there’s plenty of money there we just gotta get the city and the Army Corps to spend it.”
Schumer notes the work cannot come soon enough for the business owners outside the remaining four and a half blocks that remain open for swimmers.
“If they can get some sand, even if it means half the summer, that would be worth it and we’re trying to push them to do it,” Schumer said.
Until then, business owners say they’ll make the most of it, and ride out the wave.
The city says about four and a half miles of Rockaway Beach remain open for swimmers.