The City of Long Beach announced this week a seven-days-a-week boardwalk repair initiative in which work crews will fix faulty boards and ramps and paint bathrooms.
Crews will work each day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. scanning the boardwalk for popped, broken and missing boards, and the city has established a new email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, where residents can email reports about the condition of the boardwalk, which will be relayed to Jim LaCarrubba, commissioner of Public Works, “so problem areas can be examined and addressed as quickly as possible,” according to a city press release.
The release states that this new initiative comes at the directive of the City Council, Public Works Department and Beach Maintenance Division, who “have adjusted work schedules, from now through September, to accommodate seven-day-a-week boardwalk repair.” Council President Fran Adelson stated: “We recognize the importance of taking a proactive approach, and that’s why we’ve launched this program.”
When the city announcement the initiative on its Facebook page, some readers asked if there would be overtime costs involved in the project. In reply, the city repeated a sentence from its release: “The schedule adjustment is of no extra cost to taxpayers as there will be no overtime work.”
In response to photos of workers repairing the boardwalk that the city posted on its Facebook page, resident Stacey Gross wrote on Monday: “Went for my first bike ride of the season today. The ride was horrible. The boardwalk is so broken up, esp. at the east end and this was just the bike lane. It was disappointing.”
Boardwalk refurbishment was a top issue during last year’s election for City Council, and a Boardwalk Party was established and placed on the ballot.
Prior to the election, Len Torres, a Democrat who ran for reelection on the Boardwalk Party ticket, offered two proposals to rebuild the boardwalk: a “share-a-highway” concept, in which business outside of Long Beach invest in the boardwalk’s revitalization, and donations from private foundations, including art, music, environmental and educational organizations.
Councilman John McLaughlin, a Republican whose seat was no up for reelection last year, said that the main problem with the boardwalk is that the wood underneath the top boards has become too porous to hold nails or screws for repairs.
Noting that the wood must be replaced approximately every seven years, McLaughlin proposed a concrete boardwalk that he said has a 70-year lifespan without maintenance. “For my money, this is the way to go,” said McLaughlin, who proposed that a new boardwalk should be put up as a bond referendum at approximately $25 million.
In May 2009, the City Council passed a $110 million capital improvement plan that included a proposed $5.9 million overhaul of the 2.2-mile boardwalk. To pay for the project, the city planned to use $5 million of non-city funding from federal and state sources, and finance the remaining $900,000.