April 28, 2014
By Stephanie West
Queens, NY – Rockaway boardwalk reconstruction began last Wednesday April 23rd. Most of the structure was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy more than 17 months ago. Zachary Feder from the Parks Department said workers began preparing the construction site last week and put fences up around the area. The demolition process of removing old pieces of the damaged boardwalk is now scheduled to begin.
The work beginning this week launches the first portion of the $274 million boardwalk reconstruction project. The first phase, which is slated to be completed by Memorial Day 2015, includes rebuilding the boardwalk from Beach 86th Street to Beach 97th Street. The entire boardwalk is expected to be reopened by 2017. “It’s all being done as quickly as possible,” said Feder.
The boardwalk is a 5.5 mile structure from Far Rockaway to Belle Harbor and local residents are anxious for its completion. Last year, the city spent about $105 million to place bathrooms and lifeguard stations along city beaches, including in Rockaway, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said at a press conference last month that he hopes to work on a completion date sooner than 2017. “I’m going to work to get a boardwalk as quickly as possible,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has also said she aims to have the boardwalk reopened before the 2017 target date.
But Parks Department officials stressed that residents will be able to use a portion of the boardwalk by this summer. “There will be three and a half miles of boardwalk available – a combination of old and new boardwalk,” Feder said. “There will be about a 2.5-mile continuous stretch; they can go for a jog or a bike ride there.”