2013-05-10 / Community

Tribute Park To Reopen

Extensive Repairs Still Loom
By Miriam Rosenberg

Tribute Park after superstorm Sandy in October. Photo Courtesy Friends of Tribute Park website. Tribute Park after superstorm Sandy in October. Photo Courtesy Friends of Tribute Park website. It opened on a beautiful cool, fall day in 2005 as a remembrance to those who were lost in the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. But since October it has been closed as a result of damages by Sandy.

Tribute Park, on Beach 116th Street sustained significant damage, according to Community Board 14 chair and Friends of Tribute Park member Delores Orr. “At least half the brick walkways were upheaved and bricks were tossed around, the irrigation system is completely destroyed, the electrical lines that run underneath were completely destroyed, and we have a lot of shoreline erosion,” Orr said.

As of now the only work being done by the Parks Department are repairs on the brick walkway. Many of these bricks contain the names of locals who perished in the attacks. “The Parks Department has reset displaced or overturned brick paving stone, which will allow us to reopen Tribute Park,” said Zachary Feder, a spokesperson for the Parks Department in an email to The Wave.

Tribute Park in May 2011. Photo By Miriam Rosenberg Tribute Park in May 2011. Photo By Miriam Rosenberg While the park could reopen in the next few weeks, there are still major issues that will need to be addressed. All plants and vegetation died because of Sandy and several feet of shoreline was lost. Orr said the City has a financial obligation but she said that Parks has not given them a “commitment yet on the electric, the lights, and the irrigation system, the plants or reinforcing the shoreline.

“We’re still working on what they’ll be able to do and what the expectation will be for Friends of Tribute Park to finance,” said Orr.

Friends of Tribute Park is a volunteer group which oversees the park. Its president, Bernie Warnock, talked with NY1 soon after the storm. He spoke of concern for the mosaic sundial in the middle of the park. “We may lose this whole piece because water got underneath the ceramics,” Warnock said. He added that “Some of these plants are irreplaceable. We have to go through the Parks Department and see what we can get.”

“The shoreline is being assessed by FEMA,” Feder said, and they “will recommend a course of action. In the interim, we will be limiting access to this area. We expect to reopen the park in the next couple of weeks.”

Orr said that, it is possible that a fence will be placed around the shoreline in order to prevent anyone from going down to the water. Both Orr and Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska believe that currently the top priority for Parks is getting the beaches ready to open for the season. After that it is hoped that more attention could be turned to repairing Tribute Park.

While Orr does not believe there will be the annual Sunset at Tribute Park event this summer, she said “Our goal is to be able to do 9/11 ceremonies as we have in the past.”

For more information about Tribute Park go to rockawaytributepark.org/.

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