City manager announces 10-step process to restore seaside walkway.
Liro Engineers will coach the City of Long Beach through the boardwalk reconstruction process, City Manager Jack Schnirman announced before the City Council voted to approve a contract
with the Syosset-based engineering design firm Tuesday.
The two-mile seaside boardwalk was destroyed beyond repair during Hurricane Sandy in October, and in the fourth of 10 steps to rebuild the structure the city will pay Liro Engineers $565,307 to provide everything from design options to inspection services. The resolution
for the contract also calls for public input on rebuilding, a feature that a few residents and officials championed at the council meeting at City Hall.
“People are starving for information and starving to be heard,” said Denis Kelly, a former councilman, who suggested that city officials hold public forums on boardwalk reconstruction as soon as possible.Follow Long Beach Patch on Facebook.
Other residents, such as Ray Elmer, who was recently replaced on the Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals, insisted that a new boardwalk is inseparable from other aspects of post-Sandy rebuilding in Long Beach, including beach restoration and redevelopment of the bay front.
“We have one chance to build this right again,” Elmer said.
But both Council President Scott Mandel and Jim LaCarrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works, were emphatic that Tuesday’s resolution was strictly about retaining an engineer consultant for the boardwalk, and that boardwalk restoration is separate from other mitigation projects the city is working on.
“This resolution is to select a firm to assist the city with the design options, the ultimate selection of the design, and to help us with specifications to reconstruct the boardwalk,” LaCarrubba said. “It has nothing to do with the Army Corps [of Engineers] project. It has nothing to do with the restoration or replenishment of sand on the beach. It is specific to the boardwalk.”
The council voted 4-0 on the city’s contract with Liro Engineers, with Councilman Michael Fagen abstaining. Fagen expressed concerns about specific language in the resolution, namely the section that stated the firm “will be responsible for the researching and presenting of the best practice options for the design and materials of the boardwalk, as well as overseeing the eventual construction process …”
When Mandel maintained that the resolution was solely about selecting a firm to assist the city with rebuilding the boardwalk, Fagen read that section of the resolution and sought an explanation about them. The councilman said he abstained from voting because his questions about that section went unanswered.
Echoing Fagen, resident Eileen Hession said that she interpreted the resolution in the same way that the councilman did. “The way this reads, it looks like they’re involved in every aspect of the boardwalk,” said Hession, who along with Fagen called for public hearings.
LiRo Engineers was one of five firms that bid on the consulting contract and was deemed the “most qualified” to perform the work in Long Beach, according to the resolution. The firm has worked on such projects at the rebuilding of post-9/11 lower Manhattan and the Roosevelt Island Tramway, city officials said.
The new boardwalk is expected to cost about $25 million and city officials have said that they want to rebuild it by summer. Schnirman reported Tuesday that the demolition of the boardwalk is about half completed, and he announced a 10-step process to rebuild the boardwalk, from assessment of damages, to presenting the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a plan, to opening the finished structure. Schnirman said the 10-step plan will be posted on the city’s website.
Be a Follower. Explore and subscribe to Patch groups.
Become a blogger today!
Get started now