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Long Beach residents reconsider beach resculpting

December 11, 2012 3:15:01 PM PST
There's a new push to protect a barrier island on Long Island from future storms.

Sandy hit Long Beach hard.

Plans to better protect the beaches there were scrapped because of opposition from residents.

Now Long Beach is being asked to reconsider its decision.

In the City of Long Beach, the past six weeks have been a blur.

"This has been like a nightmare," said Maureen Bradley, a Long Beach resident.

Maureen Bradley's beloved hometown was swallowed by the sea when Sandy came ashore, swamping hundreds of homes. The cleanup price tag is $250 million.

"We know the city would be better off had we had some additional protection," said Jack Schnirman, Long Beach City Manager.

Long Beach's newly appointed City Manager Jack Schnirman is rekindling a plan to team up with the Army Corps of Engineers to build jetties and resculpt the beach to ward off a storm like Sandy. It's a plan a previous city council rejected back in 2006.

Because the Army Corps never raised the beach here along the boardwalk, the sand was basically flat. So when Sandy blasted ashore, the water just flooded right under the boardwalk.

And there was no stopping it on the other side. You can see the damage it did as it inundated the entire city.

This is what the Army Corps wanted to do and what the Town of Hempstead did on its own, in neighboring communities like Point Lookout, where workers were rebuilding dunes that succeeded in protecting homes.

But Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray says her crews can do only so much. Now that Long Beach has expressed new interest, she hopes to see if the Army Corps can complete the project, she wanted all along.

"The Army Corps has always taken the position that it's all or none," Murray said, "So if Long Beach decides to go forward with the project then the entire Barrier Island can be part of this plan."

"I guess they should have gone through with it. But no one ever thought this would happen. No one ever thinks this would happen in their yard. Never thought it would happen to us," said Maureen Bradley, a Long Beach resident.

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