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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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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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