2013-05-31 / Front Page

Parks Offers Shoreline Update

By Kevin Boyle

Charles McKinney, Principal Urban Designer for New York City Parks and Recreation, addressed a crowd of locals interested in shoreline protection in the Dome on Wednesday night. McKinney said Parks had begun soliciting community input since April 6th at a town hall meeting at Beach Channel High School. After that meeting, Parks created an online outlet for people to share concerns and ideas for the future of Rockaway.

The webpage (Rockaway Parks Conceptual Plan) collects information and opinions and produces survey-style results. So far, McKinney revealed, 76 percent of Rockaway residents would like a seawall incorporated into a boardwalk. Although no definite plans – allegedly — have yet been decided, McKinney added that the boardwalk/seawall combination “made a lot of sense.” Ninety three percent of voters wanted a continuous boardwalk with recreational choices. Eighty two percent of people agreed with the question/comment: Why not get the reccontinued ommendations of professional experts who have spent their lives studying shoreline erosion? This is not a new problem!

The expert opinion suggestion allowed McKinney to introduce a Parks’ landscape architect, Elizabeth Jordan, who was assigned the task of researching shoreline protection projects around the world. Jordan provided an overview of projects from places such as the Netherlands, Venice, Australia, Tokyo, Chicago, and England. These places use different methods including inflatable barriers, tunnels, seawalls, groins, catch basins, and sand replenishment. She identified Keta, Ghana as a place similar to Rockaway in its topography. A shoreline protection project there consisted of the installation of groins, sand replenishment, and the construction of various hard structures.

Jordan concluded her presentation by showing slides of the boardwalks and seawalls of Ocean City, Maryland and Virginia Beach, Virginia. She said that these two places have proven resilient and might be good models for a Rockaway boardwalk.

Following Jordan, Parks Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh told the gathering that $195 million dollars has been budgeted for a new boardwalk. While not asking for an endorsement he said he was hoping there would be a community consensus for a combination seawall and boardwalk. Kavanagh said public meetings will be held in the summer regarding the boardwalk and perhaps such a consensus would be reached. When asked if anyone in the City (the Mayor’s Office) has committed to a boardwalk by 2014, Kavanagh said no —- but getting plans in place by September would likely increase the chances that a boardwalk will be built by next summer.

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