is the first article in a two-part series.
It’s a sentiment a contingent of residents has voiced at various public
meetings in Hurricane Sandy-battered Long Beach.
Long Beach Patch on Facebook.
talking about a new boardwalk; that’s not important,” Ray Ellmer, a former Long
Beach zoning board trustee, said at a
community input meeting
rebuilding the storm-destroyed seaside walkway. “What’s important is a seawall
and a dune to protect life and property from natural disasters such as
City of Long Beach officials focus on rebuilding a new boardwalk, possibly by
early summer, many residents have called immediate short-term beach restoration
the city’s top priority. John Bendo, president of West End Neighbors Civic
Association, said as much at the final boardwalk input meeting at City Hall
“And there are those
that feel that this might be the opportunity to incorporate, at least in the
short term, some form of protection, until a long-term plan, maybe through the
Army Corps, could be instituted,” he said.
opportunity includes about $5 billion the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the
nation’s public engineering agency, has to allocate to Sandy-ravaged
municipalities looking to rebuild their devastated beach- and bay-fronts,
including a long-term plan to build dunes in Long Beach, Sen. Charles Schumer,
D-New York, announced at a press conference at National beach
Moriarty, a West Beech Street resident representing a local Surfrider
chapter, told the City Council that residents couldn’t
rest without hardened protection for life and property in Long Beach.
need emergency sand replenishment now,” Moriarty told council members at the
Feb. 19 meeting. “We remain at risk with only window-dressing sand piles
between us and what can be devastating to our fragile city.”
But City Manager Jack Schnirman cites those makeshift sand barriers that
stretch along the beach, as well dunes created with recycled Christmas trees at
New York and Pacific beaches,
measures the city has taken to hold back storms since Sandy. The city also
seeks sand replenishment from FEMA as a short-term measure on the beach, where
long-term 400,000 cubic yards of sand must be restored.
seeking additional sand on a short-term basis to bridge us until a long-term
solution,” Schnirman told Patch on Tuesday, noting that the city understands
that residents are “justifiably extremely concerned” that Sandy has left the
city vulnerable and want to find solutions for future storms.
LaCarrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works, said the city had
discussed with the Army Corps short-term solutions, which could involve
dredging offshore or near-shore or from an inlet to bring sand to the beach.
“They have not come back to us with that determination,” the commissioner said.
“They said before April 1 they should have something, as far as a plan goes.”
Schnirman: “We take the responsibility for storm protection extremely seriously
and are moving aggressively to seek an effective long-term solution for our
a long-term plan, Chris Gardner, an Army Corps spokesman, said the agency still
must deliver reports to Congress before the $5 billion in funds that come from
a $60 billion
Sandy aid package
can be directed to municipalities for
now the people at our headquarters are interpreting the language before they
can start distributing the funds for projects, because we have to make sure
we’re adhering to the letter of the law,” Gardner said.
The Army Corps is putting together the Limited Reevaluation Report for Long
Beach, an update on the agency’s prior storm damage reduction project with the
city that would use the latest technology and design, Gardner said. “We don’t
have a specific timeline for that report,” he added. “But it is contingent on
funds and consensus approval from varying parties.”
the Dec. 4 meeting, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution
to move forward with
the Army Corps storm damage reduction project that the council turned down in
2006, in part because it did not address flooding from Reynolds Channel. At
that meeting, LaCarrubba said the Army Corps requested the resolution, which
the city characterized as a first step to renewing talks and plans with the
agency and public input on the project. The city has insistent, though, that
beach reconstruction is a separate project from rebuilding the boardwalk.
with the city in the midst of 10-step plan to rebuild the boardwalk with visions
of an early summer opening, Bendo and other residents remain just as adamant
that both projects are inseparable and must include plans to protect the city’s
have to take into account that down the line there needs to be a beach protection
plan that needs to be incorporated with the boardwalk design now,” Bendo said.
second part of this series will appear Friday.
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