Updated 12/07/2011 01:09 PM
Rockaway Residents Urge Feds To Address Irene Repairs
With winter weather on the way, residents in the Rockaways fear their beach is especially vulnerable this year and say the beating it took from Irene's hurricane force winds could leave it open to more destruction in the coming months. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
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Beach 94th Street is one of the spots along the boardwalk where the ocean made its way through during Hurricane Irene.
"As you can see the condition of the boardwalk here, we have to wait and wait and wait," explained John Cori of the group "Friends Of Rockaway Beach."
Cori's group is taking the Parks Department to task for not working quickly enough to make repairs on the boardwalk where there is still a broken railing on at least one ramp leading down to the beach.
Additionally, a leaning fence at one sand covered handball court and damaged sections of the boardwalk were all caused by high winds and surging waters during the late August storm.
"It's an extremely dangerous situation, there are dangerous situations all over this boardwalk," Cori said.
Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski says the department has been doing interim repairs. Meantime, she says the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on site this week and last week to assess the damages. The hope is to receive federal funding and hire contractors for the bigger jobs.
"Until we do the major contractual repairs, our crews have been out there making the areas safe so that the public can still walk through the boardwalk and enjoy themselves," Lewandowski said.
"If you ride your bicycle on the boardwalk, you're guaranteed a flat tire from all the spikes and nails that are sticking up from the wood that got torn up, so you have to be very careful," said Rockaway resident John Walsh.
Residents say they're also concerned about the beach itself, which they say was severely eroded as a result of the storm. The concern is that could lead to even more damage if a major storm hits this winter.