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Group Meetings, Surveys Reveal Residents Want Durable Boardwalk Above All

Community-wide meeting on rebuilding seaside structure scheduled for Wednesday at City Hall.

The demolished Long Beach boardwalk at Neptune beach (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
The demolished Long Beach boardwalk at Neptune beach (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

More than 2,000 people completed an online survey and some 220 residents and business owners participated in focus group meetings about reconstruction of the Long Beach boardwalk in recent weeks, all of which will culminate at a community-wide public meeting at City Hall on Wednesday.

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Amy Engel director of Sustainable Long Island, the Farmingdale-based non-profit organization that is assisting the City of Long Beach with plans to rebuild the seaside walkway, conducted four group meetings. The meetings invited business owners and residents from all sections of town to offer their input on the boardwalk rebuilding project, after the two-mile wooden structure was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

“It was the community coming together to figure out what is most important to them about the boardwalk, and through the surveys and the focus groups, the residents prioritized those values, and those values will be shared with the city council and the city manager’s office and the engineering firm,” Engel told Patch on Tuesday. “Then all of that is going to taken into consideration when doing a boardwalk design.”

The values the people who participated in the surveys and focus groups ranked most frequently as the top priorities in boardwalk reconstruction were durability and resistance to future storms, Engel said.

Other priorities included protection of the environment, public safety and quality of life, and safety and comfort for runners, cyclists, walkers and other people who exercise, she added.

“In general, people said they really want to preserve the beachfront and that they want access to the boardwalk, they want it to remain free for people and they want it to open as quickly as possible,” Engel continued.

In January, the city hired Liro Engineers, an engineering firm from Syosset, to help redesign the new boardwalk, and last month work crews demolished the storm-battered wooden boardwalk. These measures are part of a 10-step plan city officials devised to rebuild the boardwalk possibly by the start of summer. The projected cost of rebuilding the structure is $25 million.  

Engel said that the values for a new boardwalk identified through the surveys and focus groups suggest the type of materials that can be used for its reconstruction.

“So ‘durability’ links to strong, hard materials; ‘protecting the environment’ links to green materials; jogging and walking links to flexible materials; bicycling and rollerblading links to smooth materials; and strollers and wheelchairs link to safe materials,” she explained.

City officials ask people to continue to visit the Long Beach Listens website, where they can continue to take surveys as long as they remain open, and to gain information about the project in the months ahead. “That will be the information hub,” Engel said.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall.

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Brendan February 19, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Has any word been given as to how it is possible to estimate the cost to replace a structure when you have not decided what material to construct it out of yet? And has anyone figured out why, per mile, our structure is going to cost four times what it is costing to build replacement boardwalks in New Jersey? Or are we just going on the assumption that because TILB, this will be done in the least efficient way possible, enriching a whole bunch of undeserving entities along the way and will never, ever be completed in a reasonable amount of time? Just curious.
paul.d.spellman February 19, 2013 at 04:00 PM
or whether I should go to the official City web site or the one run by this organization to get the latest updates on the progress of the boardwalk replacement...
John Bendo February 19, 2013 at 04:36 PM
I realize the meeting where we will hear the formal report is tomorrow night, but if this article is fairly accurate there is something major missing. In the focus group meeting I attended, one point of agreement was that the boardwalk should incorporate some form of storm barrier (e.g. seawall). I heard people said that at the other meetings too. There is no mention of that in this article. If it is not acknowledged tomorrow that numerous people said they want to see a barrier incorporated into the boardwalk, then it calls into question the legitimacy of the whole process. I hope it was just an omission in this article.
Hamburger February 19, 2013 at 04:37 PM
I would like to know the answer to the cost issue
RhondaVW February 19, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Hi John Bendo, Composite sheet piling - the same kind of long lasting material used to make bay side bulkheads - could be added to LB's existing substructure relatively inexpensively. The linked image shows what it might look like if you can imagine another 10' or so of sheet piling below grade......................................... http://tinyurl.com/boardwalkseawall
Eddie February 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Sea Bright, NJ had a berm system constructed by the Army Corps similar to the one they had recommended for Long Beach. The berm, or sea wall did little to protect anything in Sea Bright. Here's a WSJ video of the damage there: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/superstorm-sandy-nj-beaches-storm_n_2162798.html
Tonto Hertzberg February 19, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Remember in 2014 that the GOP voted NO on Sandy Relief and also want to kill FEMA off. You may not be able to vote against the GOP bastards that voted no but you CAN vote against their pals in the NY & NJ delegation like Pete King. Send those that you can vote against home and send the GOP back into the minority in Congress where they can not harm you. The GOP and the Tea party HATE NY & NJ............................they will do what they can to see you suffer more in the future.
Tonto Hertzberg February 19, 2013 at 06:58 PM
Also, C-Town in the West End was sold to Key Food, which claims they are going to open a top shelf redone store in a few months. Some good news. Thank you to the former owners that gave the community a good place to shop and employed THOUSANDS of people over the many,many years in business.
Nancy Mc. February 19, 2013 at 08:43 PM
“In general, people want to preserve the beachfront and that they want access to the boardwalk, they want it to remain free for people and they want it to open as quickly as possible.” This is what we paid the firm to figure out? The city council didn't know this already? What a colossal waste of money.
Jack February 19, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Hoober Goober is a socialist democrat party hack- go back to ypur bolsheveik meeting and say hello to Karl and Joseph. The democrats keep taking our taxes and give it to illegal aliens and welfare recipients.
Eileen M. Tsiapanos February 19, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Yes, my son's first job was at C-Town. It was also the place my mom shopped when we first came to long Beach in 1968. I remember them giving us a credit account so we could eat in those difficult times. Then I grew up and had a family of my own and it was the place I sent my son to find a job. They took a chance on a young kid who had never worked before and my so loved it so much, tho he moved, he's still in the grocery business. Thank you to all of the owners, cashiers, managers, employees of every sort for a wonderful experience every time we walked in the door. We were always treated just like we were part of the 'family'. Well done!
Tonto Hertzberg February 19, 2013 at 11:03 PM
JacK: I made my point and if a few GOP voters have a moment of clarity because of my post then I have made an impact. The Sandy vote in Congress made it clear that the GOP leadership would like nothing more than to kill FEMA and FEMA Flood Insurance altogether. If YOU give them the chance in 2014 to screw you, believe me, they will.
Pat C February 20, 2013 at 08:12 AM
BREAKING: Survey reveals LB residents want the perfect boardwalk, and they want it done yesterday.
Mike Charles February 20, 2013 at 09:31 AM
A news flash for Hoober Goober: Pete King was the one who led the fight for Sandy aid dollars....Remember, he said that you'd have to be an idiot to contribute to the GOP during the fight.
Ocean Gypsy February 20, 2013 at 11:55 AM
now that we've established what we want in/on our boardwalk. GET ER DONE! Enough already!
Tonto Hertzberg February 20, 2013 at 01:29 PM
It took 10 WEEKS for the Sandy Bill to pass and only after we made it CLEAR to Pete King that he and the rest of the NY & NJ delegation would be sent packing in 2014 if the bill was not passed. Kings redneck lout GOP pals understood that THEY would lose their Majority status in 2014 if they did what they wanted to do, which was to screw us and tell us to drop dead. ANY LB resident that would allow the GOP anywhere near a position where they could harm us again is NUTS. My advice to anyone that needs FEMA or FEMA Flood Insurance is to make sure those GOP bastards are not in a position to kill it. Pete King included.
Tonto Hertzberg February 20, 2013 at 01:33 PM
On Nov. 4. 2013 I stood in line with idiots that had lost EVERYTHING and they voted for the GOP even though those bastards wnated to kill FEMA and FEMA Flood Insurance. How STUPID do you have to be to vote FOR people that hate you and want to harm you? In 2014 you better smarten up and send the NY & NJ GOP delegation to the showers because IF the GOP takes over the House & the Senate YOU are screwed BIGTIME. Dont be a schumck.
CM February 20, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Not one single word about future strom protection. Are they nuts!? I feel like I live in the Land of Oz! All this jabbering about a boardwalk and I am paying over $50,000 to get my house repaired and $250 in deficit adjustment added to my real estate tax bill because we had a city council who mismanaged our money and another city council that failed to put in place stiorm protection and now we have one focusing on a boardwalk and not one word about what they are going to do to protect property and life from future storms. Hurricane season will be here before we know it.
Tonto Hertzberg February 20, 2013 at 04:03 PM
CM: Look at the bright side. The City got wrecked but boy did we have good surfing from 2006 to 2013!
Charlie K February 20, 2013 at 04:29 PM
It took almost four month to come up with a focus group that says we want a durable boardwalk. Did anyone say they wanted a weaker boardwalk!!! Enough with the focus groups and 25 million dollar estimates. Call up towns along the Jeraey shore who have already started rebuilding for 1/4 of the amount. They will be ready by the smer while we will still be having focus groups on theatrical we should use. Who is in charge and when do we hear from them when the official date of rebuild starts?
Me February 20, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Sadly they (the city) have said time and time again that the plans for the boardwalk have nothing to do with storm protections. Which means they are going to possibly build something for what they say will cost $25,000,000 that may need to be replaced and re-done again if another ACOE project comes along, and as has been asked time and time again why it is so much cheaper in NJ and already in progress there? Especially if they want to reuse the concrete stanchions already in place? Oh wait; This is Long Beach (TLIB). This whole thing is a farce and just a feel good move, they are rushing into something (ok they really aren’t rushing as there is no way it will be done by summer) to make it look like they are doing something when in fact all they are doing is throwing away money. How many studies has the city paid for already that they didn’t do anything with: Master Plan, Parking Plan, Flood Plan, Etc.? Maybe we should study why our city government wastes so much money on studies they intend to do nothing with. Let’s rebuild our city bigger, better and most importantly let’s do it smarter!
jon February 20, 2013 at 05:32 PM
There are 3 lanes...make everyone happy 1.-stamped cement....wheelchairs, strollers 2.-hard durable........Bicycles, rollerblading 3.-Flexible durable...jogging,walking
V. P. R. February 20, 2013 at 08:31 PM
ALL CEMENT !!! RUN ON THE BEACH !!!
delete me February 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM
would someone please direct me to a boardwalk that has been constructed for the purpose of storm surge protection? Only in LB would people thing a boardwalk is a storm barrier.
John Bendo February 23, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Take a look at the Galveston Texas seawall: http://www.galveston.com/seawallcam/

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