More than 1,000 residents and community and business leaders are expected to gather Saturday morning with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to recognize more than 500 out-of-state city, county and local emergency responders at a ceremony to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in Long Beach, Jake Mendlinger of Zimmerman/Edelson, a Great Neck-based public relations firm that works with the City of Long Beach, told Patch.
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The event, scheduled for Kennedy Plaza outside City Hall at 11 a.m., will open with a formal opening by the Girl Scouts Color Guard, followed by speeches from federal, state and local elected officials, the showing of a retrospective video of the storm in Long Beach, and a musical tribute to the first responders.
City Manager Jack Schnirman, speaking at the West End Civic Association meeting Wednesday evening, gave attendees a brief preview of the ceremony.
“We’ve invited all the different first responders from all the different agencies from all across the country, literally, who came to our aid last year, and we’ll say ‘thank you,’” Schnirman announced at the meeting, held at the West End Community Center.
The 15-minute video by local filmmakers, to be projected on large LED screen, will document scenes and stories of survival and the past year’s recovery efforts, according to an announcement posted on the city’s website.
“We’re going to be showing a film that was put together by the folks who produce the Long Beach Film Festival, and have done a tremendous job working with people from all over the city and gotten all this [film] footage from all of us,” Schnirman said. “ … I think it will be an nice thing for all of us to reflect on, where we’ve been and we’re we still have to go. We still have a ways to go.”
After Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach Oct. 29, 2012, the city estimates the cost of damage to city property from storm, including the water and sewage systems and 2.2-mile boardwalk, was more than $200 million, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said more than 860 of the city’s 9,500 homes were “substantially damaged.” Following the storm, Kennedy Plaza served as a hub for emergency operations for response and recovery efforts.
Mendlinger said that following Saturday’s ceremony, residents and business owners will received electric candles to use at a candle vigil at Kennedy Plaza planned for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the storm.
Schnirman said the vigil will “commemorate as the actual storm came in, and we’ll be handing out lanterns and asking everyone at that time to light their homes, not only to show unity, but as we have Halloween coming, if you are home, to make sure that kids know that your house is a good, safe place to go to.”
Schnirman also announced that residents are invited to volunteer to assist the city in planting beach grass in the recently redeveloped dunes in the East End at 1 p.m. following the ceremony. The following weekend, another planting is scheduled for the West End dunes.On Friday at 3 p.m., the city will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the completed boardwalk, a $44 million project that features tropical hardwood decking.