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Magnolia Playground Slated for Refurbishment

City starting to receive FEMA reimbursement checks.


The Tropical Storm Irene-wrecked Magnolia Boulevard Playground is slated for refurbishment as reimbursement funds start to trickle into Long Beach from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The City Council on April 3 voted unanimously to allow City Manager Jack Schnirman to contract with the Holbrook-based Louis Barbato Landscaping to resurface the playground, rehabilitate the existing fencing and rebuild a protective cinderblock wall that abutted the boardwalk, separating the park from the beach, after the storm-driven ocean demolished it last August.

The contract to refurbish the playground is $120,325 and the city expects to be reimbursed 87.5 percent for the project, 75 percent of the funds coming from FEMA and an additional 12.5 percent from the State of New York based on earlier submittals to the federal agency, said Jim LaCarrubba, commissioner of public works.

“We’ll also be reimbursed for the cost of materials and labor for that reconstruction,” LaCarrubba told the council at Tuesday’s meeting.  

The total reimbursement request the city made to FEMA to refurbish Magnolia playground, prior to three bids the city received April 2, was about $169,000, he added.  

Councilman John McLaughlin expressed concern that a landscaping company would perform the work. “I’m just curious what their history is with concrete and rubberized surface, and has the city done business with them before,” he asked.

Barbato Landscaping has performed contract work for a variety villages and townships, including Babylon, Hempstead and Oyster Bay, to their satisfaction, but never for Long Beach, LaCarrubba said.

FEMA recently sent Long Beach its first reimbursement check, in the amount of $4,400 for one of the first projects the prior administration submitted to the agency after last year’s storm, totally about $1.7 million. “We’re encouraged to receive our first check and hopefully they will continue to come in,” LaCarrubba said.

The new public works commissioner said the city continues to work with FEMA representatives and expects submittals for reimbursement will continue for about another month. “About three or four times a week we're on the phone or FEMA is here still taking photographs or doing site inspections along the boardwalk areas,” he noted.

Councilman Michael Fagen asked if any FEMA funds were targeted for two other playgrounds, Sherman Brown Park in North Park and the Georgia Avenue Park in the West End. LaCarrubba said he didn’t believe FEMA requests were submitted for those parks, but that the city would use some of its community development funds for at least the North Park playground.  

Last August, the City Council approved a resolution to apply for a matching grant to renovate the Georgia Avenue playground by tapping into $400,000 in funds from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Former City Manager Charles Theofan estimated then that the playground in North Park would be renovated long before the Georgia playground since money was already set aside for that project in community development funds, and that the city was waiting for community input on whether the equipment there should be better suited for teens or younger children or a combination of both.

J. Walter Vanderveer, PE April 05, 2012 at 11:47 AM
How about the cost of the engineering work? The City Engineer just hired isn't an engineer, so it will cost about $12,500 to hire a consultant - a real licensed engineer, as required by State law, to supervise the job. Good job, Democrats!
LBLover April 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM
120,000 for a wall and new rubberized surface. Seems very high to me... For that kind of money can they throw in some new picnic tables and coverings for shade?
LB TAXPAYA April 05, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Clean it up already! I can't believe the newsday said it's gonna cost 275K! For what? Some rubber mats and a concrete wall! I wish I had that CONtract!
Love This City April 05, 2012 at 12:51 PM
How can this contractor perform work in Long Beach without a Long Beach GC License? In fact shouldn't a Long Beach GC license be a requirement for even submitting a bid? Curiously how many jobs has Louis Barbato Landscaping done in Brookhaven? There are no masonry or GC contractors in LOng Beach that would do this job for $125,000? Why do we need someone from all the way out in Holbrook?
Longbeacher April 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM
And we thought the Republicans didn't care what we thought ! THE DEMS ARE IN POWER AND THEY DON'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK ,THEY ARE DOING WHATEVER THEY WANT REGUARDLESS OF WHAT PEOPLE WANT
Candygram for Mongo April 05, 2012 at 02:04 PM
DO YOU FEEL STRONGLY ON THIS ISSUE?
paul.d.spellman April 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Everyone calm down, I think the city chose this contractor in part for environmental concerns. They will be driving big trucks, so all the recent Suffolk county hires can hop in the back, thus cutting down on the number of cars being driven and the emissions.
Sean hurst April 05, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Will those big trucks drive around the engineer we will have to contract out for an additional $12,000 to sign off on this project since the dems hired a head of public works who is not an engineer??
Love This City April 05, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I am really confused. I was just at the park on Magnolia and the cinderblock wall was already rebuilt. So now we are going to knock down the wall to rebuild the same wall? Who is minding all of OUR money!!
Misty April 05, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I believe it was built knowing that there was a reimbursement coming in. However, like everything else in Long Beach, it will have to be done and redone to get it right. So, yes, you are correct. They will have to tear it down and redo it again until it is correct.
Publius April 05, 2012 at 04:38 PM
The project was discussed in some length at Tuesday's City Council meeting. The bona fides of the contractor were questioned and discussed and the CC voted unanimously to move ahead. As discussed in the article, the bulk of the funds are not coming from LB. Please attend meetings and offer your suggestions and questions.
Love This City April 05, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Wherever the money is coming from it is OUR money. In addition where ever that money is coming from is BORROWED because the city, county, state, and federal government are broke!! WE are broke because people believe that the money is "not coming from LB" it is all connected and quite frankly $120,000 to replace a cinderblock wall, fix chain-link fence and replace the rubber mats is just absurd. Those decisions, unanumous or not are why we are in this position in the first place!! If this was a regular insurance policy the insurance investigators would be out looking into a case of fraud....
LB politics stink April 05, 2012 at 09:24 PM
what crocks please Katleen Rice look into Long Beach!!
Publius April 05, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Love this City -- I would strongly encourage you to go to meetings and ask your specific questions and express your concerns. My comment, as I think is pretty clear, was as to what happened at the meeting, which does not jive fully with the comments on this board. My bigger point, though, is that these blogs may be a good place to get some information and to vent or educate, but they will do nothing to get anything done on any issue if folks don't go to a meeting once or twice a month and voice an opinion, ask a question, etc.
Mike L. Fakin April 08, 2012 at 05:02 PM
The city's new Commissioner of Public Works is not an engineer nor does he have any formal education in any related field. Who is going to oversee the work and make sure the work is safe for our children. If Jack Schnirman actually hired someone who was qualified to oversee the work, I would be happy, but with Jim Barracuda in charge, we have one of Jack's uneducated, political pals from Crookhaven overseeing work and certifying that the work is safe for our kids. I don't think the city should be leaving our children's safety in the hands of a political pal- it should be overseen by a certified engineer with proper engineering education and experience. Hit the road Jack, and take your Crookhaven friends with you.
Jeff Dahmer May 26, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Why do the Seniors living on Broadway need a Playground just give them some benches to sit on.

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