Atlantic Beach beach clubs battle back

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Taub has paid all his own expenses in order to get Sunny Atlantic open for Mother’s Day, on May 12, two weeks earlier than its traditional Memorial Day opening. “We’re going to start off the season a little early this year,” he said. “Projects that were supposed to be done over the winter had to be shelved because these repairs were more important. Whatever it takes to get my club open, I’ll do.”

To mitigate future flood damage, Taub has made improvements. “Where we had decking without concrete supports, we dug that up and added concrete pads and support for anything facing the ocean,” he explained. “We also installed a four-foot-high flood wall with flood vents in front of the pool area. At The Shores we’re putting a concrete wall facing the ocean, and added concrete pads and supports for all decking that’s facing the ocean. When we build the second level, we’ll also be adding steel reinforcing beams, so that should eliminate any problems with high winds.”

The cabanas that were lost at The Shores, Bezalel said, were built to survive the storm. “You never know with Mother Nature — we’re doing everything we can,” he said. “We put up walls, too, but that didn’t matter at the end of the day. We found our cabanas down the street and our equipment scattered throughout the village.”

“We had crews working two weeks after the storm was over for about five weeks, just removing sand and debris,” said Mark Raab, the owner of another Atlantic Beach club, New Plaza. “We’ve been working six days a week since the storm.”

Like Taub and Bezalel, Raab has had trouble financing the repairs. “We’ve had to find outside financing to pay for the repairs, and the insurance company only covers a small percentage,” he said. “It’s nowhere near what’s necessary. We’re in debt now for the first time ever.”

Raab said that sheer determination has kept him going, as New Plaza was hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 before Sandy. “You go forward thinking you’re not going to have the 100-year storm three years in a row,” he said. “The outpouring of support from members has been tremendous, and that helps a lot. You just have to keep doing what you do.”

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