2008-06-06 / Top Stories

Parks Department Slow To Repair Boardwalks

By Miriam Rosenberg

Work still needs to be completed on the south side of the Beach 20 Street boardwalk. In addition to the uncompleted work, the entrance to the gate securing the site has an opening large enough for a small child to slip through. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Work still needs to be completed on the south side of the Beach 20 Street boardwalk. In addition to the uncompleted work, the entrance to the gate securing the site has an opening large enough for a small child to slip through. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Rockaway's boardwalks, part of the charm that makes this beach community what it is, are falling apart and are being fixed by mostly patchwork repair as, from the east to the west end, residents complained about the rotted and unsafe boards.

In Far Rockaway, after months of promises from the city's Department of Parks and Recreation that the repairs on Far Rockaway's boardwalk, from Beach 20 to Beach 23 Streets, would be finished in time for the 2008 beach season, the area remains an unfinished work even as beaches opened Memorial Day on weekend.

In March, Trish Bertuccio, a spokesperson for Parks, said the plan was to have the repairs done "so beachgoers can enjoy the new boardwalk just in time for the season."

Those comments followed what a Parks representative told The Wave last November, that all work was to be completed by spring 2008.

Looking eastward from Beach 23 Street, people take a Memorial Day stroll on the newly replaced planks on the north side of boardwalk, as the south side remains under construction. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Looking eastward from Beach 23 Street, people take a Memorial Day stroll on the newly replaced planks on the north side of boardwalk, as the south side remains under construction. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Yet, only half of the work is done.

"The boardwalk itself is in terrible shape the entire length of the peninsula," said a resident of the local bungalow community, who asked not to be identified. "Joe Addabbo and Lew Simon brought this to the public's attention last year, but nothing seems to have helped. This doesn't seem to be a major concern with the Parks Department, or they would put more staff to repair the boardwalk.

"Additionally, many of the stairways to the beach are in bad shape and even more shut to the public all year due to dilapidated boards.

"The Beach 20 Street renovation is slower than molasses. There is no priority to getting this, or other repairs of the boardwalk, done in any timeframe."

The construction and replacement of boards on the south side of the boardwalk was started after work, that began last fall, was finished on the north side in April. In addition, the entrance to the gate that closes off the work site on Beach 20 Street - where planks have already been removed - has an opening large enough for a small child to squeeze through.

Parks Department spokesperson Bertuccio, in an e-mail to The Wave this week, said, "As the signs posted at the site say, we are still on track to finish the boardwalk this summer."

Over Memorial Day weekend, Cathy Quinton, of Dayton Towers, found a garbage can covering up rotted boards on Beach 74 Street; as well as broken and missing planks on the side of the boardwalk from Beach 74 to Beach 80 Streets.

"The kids are taking the planks and using them for their skateboards," she said. The 30-year Rockaway resident told The Wave, "The boardwalk is deteriorated. It's terrible. I literally watch people trip."

Quinton said she has noticed new boards installed next to rotten ones.

"They replace one. What happened to the rest?" Quinton asked. "The whole boardwalk is really porous. It's bad."

On August 3 of last year Addabbo and Simon walked the boardwalk from Beach 73 to 98 Streets and from Beach 118 to Beach 126 Streets, as they documented the deteriorating condition of Rockaway's boardwalk.

The inspection found rotted, protruding boards with exposed nails all along the boardwalk.

In a second e-mail to The Wave on May 28 Bertuccio said, "The Rockaway Beach boardwalk received $500,000 from Council Member Addabbo to repair the boardwalk edges (fascia) along most of Shore Front Parkway. Queens President Helen Marshall also allocated $600,000 to build two accessible ramps to the beach. One will be located at Beach 24 Street and the other at Beach 102 Street. There is also a citywide contract to replace the wood boardwalks with more sustainable materials."

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe originally announced the Beach 24 Street ramp project during the 2007 beach openings.

Bertuccio gave no timetable for the repairs.

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