Construction to address beach erosion may shut down stretch of Rockaway Beach during summer

Construction to address beach erosion may shut down stretch of Rockaway Beach during summer

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NEW YORK — Summer is fast approaching and that means many will head to the beach, but there’s a chance a stretch of Rockaway Beach may be closed due to ongoing work.

The problem is beach erosion.

Beach 92nd Street to Beach 116th on the Rockaway Peninsula may be closed for a period of time this summer due to ongoing beach improvements meant to reduce coastal storm risk.

The Army Corps of Engineers is doing groin construction. The stone structures help slow down beach erosion.

RELATED STORY: Massive Beach Erosion Caused By Winter Storm Has Community Activists In The Rockaways Very Concerned

“We know that the groins need to be completed, but they have halted this project for other reasons before,” Queens Councilwoman Joann Ariola said.

Ariola says the parks department told her the closures would happen during the week from Memorial Day to the end of July, keeping beaches open on the weekends.

“What they’re going to do is destroy the economic engine for the Rockaway Peninsula, which is tourism,” she told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.

Margaret Gallagher lives near a part of the beach that would be open but notes that with the ferry now bringing more people in, it’s a missed opportunity for the area.

“After the coronavirus and everything being shut down for two years, it would be detrimental to all the businesses,” she said.

“Of course everybody’s upset. We’re scared at some point, so we need to figure out what they’re gonna do over there,” said Jesus Lopez, manager of Ciro’s by the Beach.

Baya Bar is getting ready for its grand opening at Beach 116th.

“We’re definitely going to be thriving off of that crowd coming in, so it’s a little disappointing,” bar owner Matt Zarrello said.

The Army Corps of Engineers says the city of New York has final say on beach closures and that it’s “willing to be as flexible as possible with work schedules to ensure that the work does not pose any safety concerns for beachgoers.”

The parks department says it has “not made any announcements on closures and we are finalizing a closure plan.”

Ariola says she’s proposed alternative plans that would halt work until October.

After Superstorm Sandy and the COVID-19 pandemic, safety is a top priority, but they say people’s livelihoods are also important.

Work on the groins is scheduled through summer of 2024.

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