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Thursday, December 18, 2014

City launches boardwalk focus groups
Sustainable L.I. coordinating public input on rebuild
Anthony Rifilato/Herald
Sustainable Long Island Executive Director Amy Engel led the forum.

Sustainable Long Island held the first of the city’s boardwalk focus group meetings on Feb. 6, where the organization gathered community input on how to rebuild the iconic structure that was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. 

More than 100 residents attended the forum at the Magnolia Senior Center, led by Sustainable Long Island Executive Director Amy Engel, to share their ideas for a new boardwalk. It was one of four meetings being held throughout the city — subsequent focus groups were held on Monday and Wednesday — with a final meeting scheduled for Feb. 20. The latter is a citywide focus group meeting that will take place at City Hall, where a presentation of the findings from the online surveys and all previous focus groups will be given.

“The city does not want to make those decisions without your input,” Engel said. “This is an opportunity to rebuild things better, this is your opportunity to say what you want ...”

The city said that Sustainable Long Island, a non-profit organization that promotes economic development, environmental health, and social equity, is offering its services for free.

The meetings — as well as a boardwalk survey at www.longbeachlistens.com — come after the city entered into a $565,000 agreement with Syosset-based LiRo Engineers Inc., which was selected after the city issued a request for proposals in December for boardwalk designs and specifications.

LiRo will determine whether the structure will be built of wood, concrete, a wood/concrete hybrid or a composite material, and manage the eventual construction process. The firm will conduct a structural analysis of the now exposed concrete supports and assist the city with public input and its bidding process for the reconstruction.

“[Sustainable Long Island] is taking all of the data and culling it to make a presentation to the city and the engineering firm,” said city spokesman Gordon Tepper.

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