Lifelong Atlantic Beach resident Andrew Levey spends nearly every weekend of the summer patronizing the village’s beaches, and his wife and three children use them almost daily.
Though Atlantic Beach didn’t endure the damage incurred by its neighbor to the east, Long Beach, did in Hurricane Sandy, the one-square mile village has spent approximately $1.5 million, according to Mayor Stephen Mahler, to clean its beaches and repair the half-mile boardwalk.
Levey, 48, said the amount of money and time Atlantic Beach invested was well worth it. “They are in phenomenal condition, unbelievable,” Levey said in describing how the village beach areas are following the cleanup. “Though we didn’t get hit as hard as Long Beach, our village got hit, but our grounds grew was phenomenal.”
Village Building Inspector Steve Cherson is credited by both Mahler and Levey for doing the heavy lifting that put Atlantic Beach on the path to being ready by Memorial Day. “During the storm Steve was thinking about the rehabilitation and a day after was planning the recovery,” Mahler said. “Our recovery started to take place immediately and there was one thing in our minds, to be ready for the summer season.”
From day one after Sandy, Mahler said that Cherson began documenting the damage and what had to be done. Cherson declined to be interviewed for this story.
The beaches were cleared of debris, the shacks emptied of the sand that the storm swept in and repaired, and the boardwalk, constructed in 1928, was rebuilt. It needed new underpinnings and stanchions in several places.
Surplus budget money was used to pay for the cleanup and repair, Mahler said. Cherson’s detailed documentation has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement, the mayor added. “We will come close to breaking even, after receiving reimbursement,” Mahler said.
With Sandy recovery nearly in its rearview mirror, Mahler said that Atlantic Beach is mulling the idea of redeveloping the tennis center into a year-round facility that would serve more as a community center and possibly includes activities such as Pilates and yoga. “The tennis center is not as popular as it once was,” he said, adding that the village is considering partnering with a physical trainer. The potential project is expected to be discussed at the next Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Aug. 12 at 7:45 p.m. at Village Hall, 65 the Plaza.
In the meantime, Atlantic Beach residents such as Dr. Jay Silverstein are enjoying a summer with a refurbished beach and boardwalk. “Atlantic Beach is looking very good for the summer,” he said. “The beaches are clean and busy.”