2008-06-20 / Top Stories

Select Boardwalk Repairs Coming Soon

By Nicholas Briano

Select portions of the boardwalk will get some much needed repairs this summer and could eventually lead to a full scale overhaul using a combination of different materials.
Many who frequent Rockaway's six miles of boardwalk know that it's in dire condition and in much need of repairs. While a full-scale overhaul and reconstruction isn't yet in order, there are several places along the peninsula where new materials will be tested to repair damaged structures.

The testing of new materials on Rockaway's boardwalk is a result of Mayor Bloomberg's sustainability effort, a pilot project aimed at eliminating the city's dependency on tropical hardwoods, of which Rockaway's boardwalk is currently constructed.

The tropical hardwood boardwalk that has stood for more than 100 years will not be completely replaced at this time. Instead, the repaired sections of boardwalk will feature three options that could determine what the boardwalk will look like in the future.

The plan, presented to Community Board 14 last week by Kevin Quinn, team leader of Queens Capital Projects and Jill Weber, Parks Administrator of the Rockaways, is to install concrete planks on top of the existing timber piles. The top of boardwalk with then have either, painted concrete, plastic lumber, or the traditional hardwood.

The hardwood deck would still be permitted under Bloomberg's plan because the concrete base put in place would significantly reduce the amount of hardwood used in the overall project, but the hardwood deck would cost the most money.

The Department of Parks and recreation has allocated a total of $1.4 million thus far to repair sections of the crumbling and collapsing boardwalk. Work is scheduled to start as early as July 1. The $1.4 million is separated between two contracts. $550,000 of that money for repairs was secured by City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and Borough President Helen Marshall.

A spokesperson for the Department of Parks and Recreation, Philip Abramson, says that the repairs funded by the elected officials will be the last using the traditional materials.

"The Queens Borough President provided money for adding new ramps and Councilmember Addabbo allocated money to replace the fascia boards," he said in a written statement.

Weber said at the CB14 meeting that the boardwalk near the playground on Beach 81 Street will be the first site for repairs, mainly because of safety concerns for the children.

Other notable sites where you could see repairs occurring in the next several months are Beach 101 Street, Beach 104 to Beach 106, Beach 77 to Beach 81, Beach 44 to Beach 60, Beach 23 to Beach 27. New fascia boards are also planned for Beach 73 to Beach 78, Beach 87 to Beach 90 Street, and Beach 96 to Beach 99.

That is all dependent of how far the money will take them.

Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, proposed a different idea. He believes that the concrete base makes sense, but instead of the above mentioned option, he would like to see a hardwood and brick combination that would mirror other boardwalks along the east coast.

"One thing is for certain. You want something that will last," he said. "The hybrid of brick and wood is a happy medium, I think."

"Either way the proposition is an expensive one," Gaska said.

The $1.4 million is expected to dry up exceptionally fast, depending of which materials are eventually used for the repairs.

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