City unveils new boardwalk design

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The design features 2x6 boards instead of the previous 2x4s, laid out east-west, in contrast to the north-south design of the old boardwalk, with 1/8-inch gaps between them. Officials said this would promote the flow of bikes, strollers and wheelchairs by reducing vibrations. The design also includes aluminum pipe railing and antique light poles and fixtures.

Beach ramps will be in the same locations, LaCarrubba said, and the more than 700 memorial benches now being stored in a warehouse will be reinstalled. The city will later consider adding concessions, comfort stations and other amenities.

City officials said that they examined boardwalks in other communities, including Coney Island, to help inform the design process. “Atlantic City, New Jersey — their boardwalk was built out of a tropical hardwood [and] stood up very well during the storm,” LaCarrubba said. “This design addresses our core concerns, and provides us with the resiliency and durability that were really the focal points of all those involved.”

He said after the meeting that the height of the structure would remain the same, 17 feet above sea level. The design includes a wave‐break wall — that will cost $6 million — to prevent the kind of extensive damage that Hurricane Sandy caused.

“It stops the water from forcing the boardwalk up,” LaCarrubba explained. “We’re going to make that wall as strong as possible.”

At a press conference last week, Sen. Charles Schumer, State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and city officials called on FEMA to fund the reconstruction. Though the agency provides funding only for municipalities that rebuild public structures to the same specifications, Schumer said that FEMA’s hazard-mitigation program could provide additional funding under Section 406 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that helps states and localities rebuild after major disasters. Reconstructing the boardwalk as it was, without storm mitigation, was estimated to cost $25 million.

City Councilman John McLaughlin asked whether FEMA would, realistically, pay for most, if not all, of the now $40 million project.

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