A year and a half after Long Beach’s iconic boardwalk reopened, city officials took the next step in improving the 2.2-mile structure last week, when the City Council voted unanimously to approve an $8.6 million project to rebuild comfort stations that were wiped out by the storm, as well as a number of concessions and other amenities, to make it a “family-friendly destination.”
The city gave a presentation at the March 3 council meeting to mark the second phase of the boardwalk reconstruction process. It followed several public-engagement sessions and online surveys the city held with Sustainable Long Island last year to gather public input that officials said led to the designs for the new structures.
The findings revealed that participants wanted, above all else, shaded structures, followed by outdoor showers, food and retail concessions, fitness stations, bicycle rentals, seating for dining and games, and more. They would also like to see these features added mostly at the center or both ends of the boardwalk.
Last year, based on residents’ input, the city added a number of local food vendors that were stationed along the boardwalk and beach, and also partnered with Manhattan-based Social Bicycles Inc. to roll out a “smart bike” program.
“The connection between the public and this particular project is very strong,” said Jim La-Carrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works. “Some of these items were covered already; the city already had outdoor showers at the ends of the boardwalk, and what we’re doing with these public facilities will enhance that. There have been food concessions out and about the boardwalk, and we’ve had mobile markets and vendors.”
The city will rebuild five comfort stations and bathrooms at Grand, National, Edwards, Riverside and Lincoln boulevards.
“These bathrooms will be elevated, making them more resilient,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said. “They will be constructed on the north side of the boardwalk, in compliance with [Federal Emergency Management Agency] regulations and guidelines.”