Public meetings to be held prior to boardwalk rebuild

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Schnirman said that the survey has already generated more than 900 responses in just a few days.

The announcement of the meetings and survey comes after the city entered into a $565,000 agreement with Syosset-based LiRo Engineers Inc., which was selected after the city issued a request for proposals in December for boardwalk designs and specifications.

LiRo will determine whether the structure will be built of wood, concrete, a wood/concrete hybrid or a composite material, and manage the eventual construction process. The firm will conduct a structural analysis of the now exposed concrete supports and assist the city with soliciting public input and its bidding process for the reconstruction.

Though city officials emphasized that public input would be gathered after the council voted 4-0 to hire LiRo at its Jan. 22 meeting, it was not explained exactly how residents would be able to offer their ideas. A number of residents, for example, have recommended that a new boardwalk include some sort of protective barrier or seawall.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, resident John Bendo lauded city officials for holding the meetings, but said that they should “manage expectations” of the project.

“You’re soliciting input right now which is a wonderful thing, but you’re soliciting input from non-technical people,” Bendo said. “You need to manage people’s expectations so they don’t think that they’re going to get something which isn’t practical when it really comes to rebuilding this.”

Schnirman has outlined a 10-step process that includes assessing the strength of the concrete pilings and a list of reconstruction options. Once it has the firm’s and the public’s input, the city will present its design specifications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which officials hope will reimburse most of the cost of the project.

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