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Councilmen: Public Input Needed to Rebuilt Boardwalk

City manager says engineering firm will be hired to assit in plans.

A demolition worker at the Long Beach boardwalk on Thursday. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
A demolition worker at the Long Beach boardwalk on Thursday. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
Story by Joley Welkowitz.

The Long Beach boardwalk has withstood the test of Mother Nature for many decades, but could not survive the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. And now that the city is rebuilding, decisions must be made about the materials that will make up the reconstructed boardwalk in order to make it more resilient.

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“We will do whatever it takes to get it up and running as fast as we can, but we want to make sure it is done the right way,” said Gordon Tepper, a spokesman for the City of Long Beach.

The first key step for the city is the demolition process, which started on Jan. 5 and is expected to take roughly one month to complete.

“We will put out an RFP [request for proposal] to choose an engineering firm to assist us in coming up with plans to rebuild the boardwalk smarter, stronger, safer,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

There is no current timetable, but there is hope that the boardwalk will be finished in time for the summer season. Schnirman explained that the city is listening to ideas presented by different firms, but has yet to make a decision.

“Once the firm is chosen, we will then put out a bid for construction, and once that bid is awarded, we will have a timeline,” he said.

“Public input would certainly have an impact on how we vote or what we would instruct the engineering firm to do,” City Councilman John McLaughlin added.

McLaughlin indicated that an online survey might be posted on the city’s website for residents to complete, which he said, “would give the engineering firm some parameters of what people prefer and will be happy with.”

However, Councilman Michael Fagen thinks such surveys will not be effective enough. “I would urge the administration to conduct public hearings so that the taxpayers have an opportunity to voice their own opinions in person,” he said. “I believe the boardwalk to be the property of the residents and they should have a say in this.”

Rebuilding the boardwalk will cost approximately $25 million. In review of previous natural disasters, FEMA usually reimburses municipalities for approximately 75 percent of the damage. New York State will use federal funds to kick in about 15 to 20 percent of the cost.

The city’s insurance company will cover a portion of the damage, but currently there is no dollar figure available. Therefore, the city may be responsible for 5 to 10 percent of the cost, which is estimated at $1.3 to $2.6 million.

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The city is calling for 100 percent reimbursement, but if it were held responsible for the remaining balance, the money will come from the City of Long Beach Relief. The money will be used to rebuild the boardwalk and repair the Recreation Center, the Youth and Family Services Center, parks and beaches.

“All of the money that is donated will be allocated by council resolution,” according to Tepper. Donations continue to flow into the City of Long Beach Relief fund and are still being accepted. On Thursday, Schnirman announced at a meeting of the Long Island Regional Planning Council, held at City Hall, that to date the city had raised more than $350,000 for the fund.

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Nancy Mc. January 19, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Let me get this straight, this city council is going to let a private company handle the public input and public meetings for a new boardwalk? That's ridiculous! The city council should hear our opinions and they should hold the hearings! This is an important decision! If this crew of elected officials don't want to lead this city they should resign from office. What a disgusting bunch. Do they honestly believe a private fir profit company is going to do what the residents want? They just want to make money! I heard they want a concrete boardwalk- bad for runners. I heard they want a synthetic wood (plastic) boardwalk- too slippery for bikes. I heard they want hardwood from the rain forest- bad for the environment and rain forest. This is a huge issue that needs to be handed with great sensitivity. And our elected officials should be leading instead of running away! What a joke!
Beachguy January 19, 2013 at 08:04 PM
There should be public meetings with the council so they can hear from the residents. But, and it's a big but, the meetings can't become a drag on the project so that there's endless debate and delay. We need leadership to make decisions. Is the administration capable of this? Doubt it but let's see. Regarding fees etc I agree with Wildman except if someone is on the beach without having pad then they can be sold a pass or whatever right there but at a premium of let's say 25%. it's going to be impossible to please everyone as is testified to by the many differing ideas being proffered and that's where we need strong leadership. Good luck on that one.
Beachguy January 19, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Yes .you've put your finger on the problem . It's that secret group that controls everything. The dastardly Surfers. Stamp out the surfers . Down with the surfers! The source of all our misery. And the other nefarious group, the hockey players. They all worship that arch fiend SNOOPY who leads them astray. Everyone thank Wildman for his incisive analysis.
Jack January 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Serious consideration should be given by the Town of Hempstead to fill in the Canals since they are a vulnerable point for flooding and water incursion to Park Ave.
Jack January 20, 2013 at 08:49 AM
Also the boardwalk should be extended from Maple Bvd to Atlantic Beach to connect to the AB Boardwalk. A "greenway" can be constructed to connect to the Atlantic Beach bridge to allow bikers and walkers and joggers to continue into the 5 Towns area. This would also allow for more diversity and inclusiveness in our beachfront and boardwalk areas. This should be an affirmative action cause. If taxes need to be increased well then so be it. Afterall we are doing it for our children.
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 09:26 AM
Jack-- why would the Town of Hempstead fill in the canals within the City of Long Beach? Are you proposing that the boardwalk extend from the City of LB through EAB which is part of the Town of Hempstead then through the Village of AB , three separate political entities? Time for a medication adjustment Jack.
Nancy Mc. January 20, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Here's another point- Why in God's name are the they ripping down the entire boardwalk? I saw the damage. Maybe, at most, 30% of the boardwalk was destroyed, yet the entire thing is coming down? Yeah, I know some sections of the boardwalk were in terrible shape, especially between National and Lafayette, but why tear the entire structure down? Doesn't anyone think that FEMA or the Federal government is going to find out the entire thing wasn't destroyed? And when they do find out the city is trying to pull a fast one on them, what if they say, "sorry we are only paying for the 30% that was damaged, LB you are on your own for the rest of the money." Then what? I can already see this entire thing is going to be complete debacle. When the federal government figures out the city of LB is simply trying to scam the US taxpayers in an effort to get a new boardwalk, we are all screwed. So are local businesses who rely on people visiting the boardwalk. This is going to be bad. Who's decision was this anyway? Did these people really win the election. The past group of city council members were pretty bad but this group of morons makes them look like geniuses!
Nancy Mc. January 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Jack, with all due respect, we don't want a "Greenway" connecting EAB, AB and Rockaway and the five towns to NYC. Thats ridiculous.
Matt Markell January 20, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't there a process to follow when planning a rebuild? 1. Deciding on the material to use. 2. Contacting the companies that make or supply the chosen material. 3. Evaluating and accepting the winning bid. 4. Contacting the winning bidder and placing the order. Then they have to wait for delivery before starting construction. Now let's see, they've done none of the above. They haven't finished demolishing the old boardwalk yet nor have they decided on the material to use for the rebuild, they haven't even started preparing the supports for the rebuild but they persist in saying that the boardwalk will be finished by summer. What's wrong with this picture?
David Prophet January 20, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Matt, they've never actually said Summer, 2013. They just said summer. Being a normal, intelligent and reasonable person, you know what that means. Being politicians however, they know they can always say they meant something else. Like Summer 2014 or 2015. TILB Matt.
Matt Markell January 20, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I stand corrected. My first question should have been, "Which summer?" It's really a pity, I've been a resident since 1949 and it's never changed. New parties, new promises,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, same old thing.
joe January 20, 2013 at 03:39 PM
The boardwalk is not the only scam these guys are running on FEMA. They have also dismantled the Rec, Magnolia Center, West End Community Center and the MLK Center. All Senior programs have been canceled at Magnolia because the area for seniors is being used for storage. ^ inches of water at Magnolia and tehy have ripped out all the walls and kitchen . No Childcare , no Seniors lots of staff at Magnolia everyday . Rec closed , fully staffed. Go private sector and this place would be up and operating 2 months ago.
Eddie January 20, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Joe and Bobby, you've said it all. Obviously the City is making a feeble attempt to bilk FEMA for new stuff. My experience says that this won't work. But by the time these amateurs learn that, it will be too late and we'll be stuck with the bill. The boardwalk should be designed by engineers, not politicians or loudmouth residents. It is unqualified incompetence that keeps getting Long Beach into its messes. Public opinion? Public hearings? Nonsense. Leave the job and the design to professionals.
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Matt-- you've just made me depressed. Why can't it change? Why the same old, same old?
joe January 20, 2013 at 07:24 PM
It will continue because there is no accountability. Their appointees can do no wrong even when they have shown lack of talent or ability. They are playing with your money and it doesn't matter if they produce or not they will continue to get paid and protected.
Jack January 20, 2013 at 09:00 PM
The waterways along Reynolds Channel including the Canal's waters belong to the Town Of Hempstead. The land along the opposite sides of the Canals are owned by the City of Long beach not the homeowners accross the street except for riparian rights to use the water entrance and maybe some have leases to use the land. One of the reasons why Long Beach can't stop duck hunting out on the waters. EXPAND the boardwalk to Atlantic Beach boardwalk! Connect a bike route to the Loop Parkway and Jones Beach. Turn the Nassau Expressway into a real expressway with no lights as originally planned!
Beachguy January 20, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Assuming you're correct then is the Town also responsible for the bulkheads in the canals? If so, does the Town pay for their upkeep?
Eddie January 21, 2013 at 07:20 AM
Canal bulkheads are the responsibility of the adjoining property owner. The small lots boarding the streets are mostly owned by the City; they maintain the bulkheads. Home lots fronting canals require the property owner to maintain the bulkhead. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 07:38 AM
So the Town owns the land beneath the water? What's the difference? Now the canals are going to be turned into superfund sites like The Gowanus Canal if some of the more mentally challenged LB residents have their way. Down with environmentalists! Up the polluters! Down with surfers. Let them go out in filthy water. That's their problem. Back to cesspools. Dump everything into the bay and the ocean. If it smells just hold your nose.
Trying to Make Sense January 21, 2013 at 08:47 AM
"The boardwalk should be designed by engineers, not politicians or loudmouth residents. It is unqualified incompetence that keeps getting Long Beach into its messes. Public opinion? Public hearings? Nonsense. Leave the job and the design to professionals." THANK YOU EDDIE. Of course this is obvious. Of course it is also obvious that there has already been and extended period of bloviating about engineered beaches and types of boardwalks with well organized interest groups like LBSA getting most of the attention. LEAD OR LEAVE Torres, Adelson, Mandell.
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 09:54 AM
Yes the arch villains are members of the LBSA. Stop the surfers before they do us all in. Look at all they've done. Helped out LB businesses.Brought food to those in need. But it's all part of a well crafted plot. They have some mysterious motive behind their good deeds. It's all a smoke screen for their real evil purposes. They really want to bring us all down. BTW--now that the boardwalk is gone where are they holding their cabalistic meetings that were once held in the depths of the darkness? I heard they are joining up with the hockey players. Everyone be warned. Be on the alert
Matt Markell January 21, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Beachguy, You're really paranoid!!!!!
Trying to Make Sense January 21, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Beachguy your comments miss the point. No one suggested that the LBSA has negative intentions, just that they have had their say, missed the call, and now we should be sorting out the best options as presented by civil engineers and other real experts who can help the City meet its fiduciary responsibility to protect its citizens in a prudent cost effective manner.
Matt Markell January 21, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Beachguy, I'm not saying LB government cannot change. I'm hoping that someday it will. I pray for change. All I'm saying is that for 60+ years, it hasn't. We seem to be a magnet for scam artists and bullsitters. Past performance doesn't mean squat. What are you going to do for me today?
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Many individuals and organizations were opposed to the ACE , take it or leave it, plan for a number of legitimate reasons. No storm barrier, no plan for the bay, questions about where the sand was coming from.These were and remain legitimate concerns. After it's rejection the City hired a private firm to develop a comprehensive plan. Nothing was ever done to implement this plan. NOTHNG. That's where the blame lies. Years and years of inaction by successive administrations. Now we have silence coming from City Hall. Are we going to have a plan thrust upon us without any input or opportunity for discussion or is the City doing nothing? Who knows? Maybe they are working on important issues like getting the bus schedule synchronized with the trains before they move on to the flood threat
Beachguy January 21, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Instead of wasting time arguing over why a city council did or didn't do something 6 or7 years ago why don't we focus on the present and the future? I suggest every concerned , informed citizen look at the LBSA website and see the CP&E proposal. LBSA has also developed a letter to be sent to the council and city manager about the situation. It's cosponsoring a public meeting with the recently rejuvenated WENCA at City Hall with speakers who will answer relevant questions about flood related problems. Despite all the unfounded criticism LBSA seems to be doing more than any other organization in the City . So why don't people lend their support instead of posting criticisms here.
Elliot Zuckerman January 24, 2013 at 08:54 AM
OK I have been very quite but holly crap you all got the answers and you all have your opinions on how, what and who should do this and do that, its time to wake up, NOTHING and this is only my opinion will be done to make this place any better than it was, the boardwalk will be built soon(within the next 10 years) the canals bulkheads will not be touched(did you all forget that they where raised and steel bullhead installed a few years ago? at a hight that was going to save us all from flooding, if you lived here you should remember they where all wood.This project was finished last year but of course they forgot to finish the end of the canal on the last canal, its still wood and falling apart(before the storm. Do you really think this place is going to be rebuild to a standard that will hold a surge like Sandy.You all feel that for some strange reason that life will be perfect in LB and our leaders will make sure everything is done to make everyone so happy. come on now things will be done when they are ready. We the people of LB will pay and pay thru the nose.With our taxes going up and our water/sewer bill going up 22% what would make you think we will get all these things without a cost to us. Build the right way, haha what is the right way, who is to blame surfers, bikers, runners or whom ever you want to blame, we have zero control on what will be done and when its all done, we will still complain. This place is no different than any other, mistakes will be made, blame will be thrown and not everyone will be happy but this is LB and if you lived here long enough you will know this is how its done, right ,wrong this is the way it is, but keep on blaming it makes great reading..
Eddie January 24, 2013 at 09:05 AM
If the millions in tax money and bond money were spent on infrastructure instead of the expanding hiring of political hacks, family and friends, Long Beach would be better equipped to handle flooding. Why do taxpayers continue electing these miscreants?
Hamburger January 24, 2013 at 10:32 AM
the problem is, miscreants comprise 100% of our options on election day, party affiliation notwithstanding. The system is broken and we can't keep the piggies away from the trough.
Beachguy January 24, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Elliott is depressingly right I fear. But he left out the hockey players and the secret leader and inspiration for the villainy, SNOOPY who BTW would be an improvement on the current inhabitants in City Hall. What's needed is a third party composed of independent people without any agendas except the betterment of LB and who will make the hard decisions.

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