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.

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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