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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Community News
After Hurricane Sandy, MECA pool club envisions summer reopening
By Brian Racow, bracow@liherald.com
Scott Brinton/Herald
MECA officials said they believe the facility will reopen in June, despite extensive repairs that it needs.

Despite the heavy damage that the Merrick Estates Civic Association and Pool Club sustained during Hurricane Sandy, MECA officers expect to have the facility rebuilt in time for its regular Father’s Day weekend opening in June.

When Hurricane Sandy sent its catastrophic storm surge barreling into the South Shore on Oct. 29, one of the many damaged properties was MECA Pool, which sits on the East Bay, at 2935 Shore Drive in south Merrick. Two boats slammed into the club’s facility, tearing down fencing, cracking concrete, wrecking pool equipment and scattering debris.

Eliza Laganas, a MECA Board of Directors member and past board president, said that the club sustained roughly $250,000 in damage. “The insurance company has wrongfully denied us,” Laganas said. “A wonderful attorney named John Lerner has donated his legal services. He has commenced a lawsuit against the insurance company to try to recoup active losses.”

Lerner is one of many who have donated their services, at little or no cost, to the effort to make MECA Pool whole again.

The club has had offers from several individuals and companies to undertake debris cleanup and disposal, repaint and seal its pool area, do electrical work, fix plumbing, repair masonry, build fencing and landscape the premises for free or for the cost of materials.

Patrick Liotta, a south Merrick resident and owner of Liotta and Sons, Inc., an Island Park trucking and recycling company, said his company would truck away and dispose the storm debris on MECA’s property for no charge. “I feel a close connection to MECA because I live close,” Liotta said. “They’re a nonprofit organization that does good things for people in town.”

Liotta said his own home was impacted by Sandy’s floodwaters as well. “The whole block got hammered,” he said. “Obviously, we all got affected by it, so when they asked for my help, it never even crossed my mind not to do it.”

John Lowe, president of MECA’s Board of Directors, lauded community members who have contributed to the restoration effort. “A lot of the people working to restore MECA are people who had their own homes damaged by Sandy,” Lowe said. “It’s great to see that kind of commitment from people.”

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