The 11-block section of Rockaway Beach will be closed due to severe erosion and a storm water dune
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced an 11-block stretch of Rockaway Beach will be closed for the foreseeable future due to erosion. A combination of erosion and a dune that was installed after Hurricane Sandy for storm water protection has reportedly diminished the size of the beach and made it unsafe for recreation. The decision, announced mere days before the New York city beaches open for Memorial Day weekend, has been met with considerable community backlash.
The city argues that the diminished beach does not have enough room for lifeguards, making it unsafe for visitors, as reported by New York Daily News. Despite safety concerns, the community worries over the impact this closure will have on the local economy as tourist season approaches.
“Unfortunately, there is just not enough beach in this section to be able to allow swimming in a safe manner and we don’t want to have any lives put in unnecessary danger,” said a NYC parks department statement. 4.5 miles of Rockaway Beach will remain open to the public.
News of the beach closure comes on the heels of recently secured funding by New York Sen. Charles Schumer and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to expedite a coastal resilience and flood protection study through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The study, known as the Rockaway and Jamaica Bay Reformulation Study, is the first step towards identifying erosion control solutions for the Rockaway area. Expected to be completed by November 2018, USACE anticipates it will be poised to begin project construction by early 2019.
“Despite this painful reality that an 11-block stretch will be closed, the Army Corps will be soon committing to a specific plan with real resources to come in and fix that erosion for the long-term,” Blasio said.