The City of Long Beach is facing one of the biggest reconstruction projects on Long Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy—rebuilding it’s more than two-mile long Boardwalk that was severely damaged by the storm, something city officials hope to accomplish by summer.
The 76-year-old Boardwalk represents an integral part of the life and history of the residents of this barrier island community. For generations they have made memories enjoying leisurely strolls, bike rides, rollerblading, ice cream cones and trips to the arcade on the now demolished structure.
Long Beach’s Boardwalk has always been the heart of its community life and a key economic driver, so it’s no surprise that with strong focus and a deep sense of civic awareness, city officials and residents alike are taking the rebuilding project to heart.
Officials believe that civic participation in the decision-making process is critical to the community’s future development. Long Beach Listens is an initiative by the city to systematically gather information and feedback from residents and businesses regarding boardwalk redevelopment.
Over the past month, approximately 250 residents actively voiced their concerns in four focus group meetings targeting various segments of the population and more than 2,350 people completed online boardwalk reconstruction surveys. The surveys, focus groups, and summary documents were provided by Sustainable Long Island, a non-profit organization that facilitates community development, environmental health, and social equity.
The results were presented at a community-wide public meeting at City Hall this past Wednesday. Top reconstruction priorities were durability and resistance to future storms, protection of the environment, public safety and quality of life.
Results of the community-wide input also indicated that the materials considered for use in the design plan need to be durable and strong, “green” (environmentally conscious), flexible for walking and jogging, smooth for bicycling and rollerblading and safe for strollers and wheelchairs.
As part of the city’s 10-step plan to rebuild the Boardwalk, it hired LiRo Engineers, based in Syosset, to work on its redesign; and last month what was left of the storm-battered iconic structure was demolished. The projected cost of reconstruction is $25 million.
The town is also considering building sea barriers to protect against the next storm surge, an initiative rejected by Long Beach six years ago, fearing that ocean views would be blocked and tourism would be adversely affected.
Visit the Long Beach Listens website for up-to-date information about the project in the months ahead.
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