Hurricane Sandy hit 13 months ago, and the Rockaway boardwalk, which was completely destroyed in the storm west of Beach 88th Street, has still not been rebuilt.
That fact has been a point of contention between the city and the Rockaway community since the hurricane. As devastated boardwalks have been rebuilt on the Jersey Shore and Long Beach in Nassau County, the people of the Rockaways were left wondering “what about us?”
City Parks Commissioner Veronica White twice said the agency planned on starting construction on the new boardwalk by early next year.
But after presenting the new plans to a meeting of Community Board 14 on Nov. 18, First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh told DNAinfo that the target completion date is Dec. 2016.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) said he doesn’t buy the Dec. 2016 date.
“I think it was a mistake,” he said. “I think they will finish it a lot earlier.”
However, Goldfeder said he isn’t too concerned with the possibility of a long construction.
“It’d rather it be done right than be done fast,” he said.
In a statement, the Parks Department did not identify a completion date, but said it would start construction early next year.
“With the exception of the new boardwalk islands that were completed for last summer, the design is being rethought from quite literally the ground up — with elevated, steel-reinforced concrete and multiple layers of protection, including approximately 6 miles of retaining walls and planted dunes,” the statement read. “We anticipate groundbreaking in early 2014 and as construction progresses we will be able to estimate completion dates for individual sections as well as the overall project.”
The new boardwalk will be concrete and early designs show aquatic themes including wavy patterns and blue decorative stones. In some parts, the boardwalk will be as much as 7 feet higher than it was.
The agency added that the boardwalk project is a “complex” one and requires going through approvals from a number of agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A permit is required from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Parks Department said it was planning on having the first phase of the boardwalk, between the current boardwalk islands and concession stands at Beach 88th and Beach 97th streets, done by next summer when the beach reconstruction project is to be completed. Much of the boardwalk east of Beach 88th Street survived the hurricane with only minor damage.
The department would construct the boardwalk in stages, but work on different sections at the same time in order to expedite the process and sections will open to the public as they are completed.