City manager says engineering firm will be hired to assit in plans.
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.Be a Follower. Explore and subscribe to Patch groups.
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. MORE NEWS:
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