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Commercial beach raking coming to Sea Cliff soon

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As part of an inter-municipal agreement with the Town of Oyster Bay, Sea Cliff residents will soon have a cleaner, more manicured beach to play on. Last week, the municipalities approved resolutions that will require town employees to “groom” Sea Cliff Beach using a commercial rake over the next two years.

Beach grooming involves raking a beach, often with a tractor, to remove trash and debris. The raking of Sea Cliff Beach is to occur four to six times, or every two weeks, during the beach season, said Village Administrator Bruce Kennedy. A final schedule, however, has not been determined for the remainder of the summer.

The town has used beach rakes to comb four of its beaches — Florence Avenue Beach and Tobay Beach in Massapequa, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay and Tappen Beach in Glenwood Landing — for over a decade. Parks Commissioner Joseph Pinto explained that the machine “cleans up all the debris that might be embedded in the sand, which makes for a softer surface for those who frequent the beach.”

The rake digs deep into the sand to pick up loose rocks or stones. In addition to making beaches aesthetically pleasing, the process is also “environmentally sound,” Kennedy said. “Goose droppings that are on top of the soil get picked up, and that minimizes bacteria that ends up in the water.”

Trustee Henriette Rohl, the village’s liaison to the beach, said that the rake used by the town is designed for beaches like those on the North Shore, which are often cluttered with large pebbles and shells. Rohl added that the beach cleanup could become less frequent once raking is under way.

“This kind of rake can clean up the garbage that we hand-pick normally, and it doesn’t affect the environment or the sand,” she said. “It’s nice that we can save the money, and residents can expect cleaner beaches.”

A resident had offered to purchase a rake to clean the beaches, but the machine the resident had in mind “wasn’t adequate for what was required for a beach of our size,” Kennedy said.

Because the village has continued maintenance of Rum Point Park — which is under the town’s jurisdiction — Kennedy reached out to Pinto “looking for something in return” for the work.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with Sea Cliff,” Pinto said. “They helped us out taking care of Rum Point Park, and we want to make sure we give them what they need to help them with their beach.”

Pinto said that parks employees would coordinate with the village’s Department of Public Works to determine a schedule for beach raking. The process takes a couple of hours, but Kennedy said that crews would work in the early morning or after hours, so as not to disturb beachgoers.

“This is a tremendous benefit to the residents of the Village of Sea Cliff, working with our adjoining municipalities,” he added. “Shared services minimize cost, and the people who are enjoying the beach are getting the benefit.”