SAND ON THE WAY?  Meeks: Hoping for an August Save

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Congressman Gregory Meeks, in a call to The Rockaway Times on Tuesday, said a meeting was held with the Army Corps of Engineers and local elected officials in an attempt to “salvage at least part of the summer” by figuring out how to bring more sand to the now-closed beaches, from Beach 91st  to Beach 102nd Street.

He said the Army Corps is scheduled to do sand replenishment in Long Beach, and the company contracted to do the work there might be able to stop on the way and pump sand onto Rockaway's beaches. The sand replenishment in Long Beach is part of Phase 2 of that town’s coastal protection project and it follows the construction of 15 groins (jetties) that were installed in 2017. The Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corporation is the outfit doing the Long Beach replenishment.

In Rockaway, Meeks said there are “hurdles to overcome,” including whether the job would have to go out to bid or if that route could be avoided by using some kind of “emergency” funding. Meeks said the Army Corps could only do the work using federal money. City officials, both the Parks Department and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), would have to determine if Sandy funds (that were federal dollars) are available for such use.

The Congressman said coordination was needed between City, State, and Federal agencies and that a follow-up meeting is planned and that an update should be available by next Wednesday. Meeks hopes some dredging can get done for “an August save.” In addition to local elected officials, Meeks said Senator Charles Schumer’s office is involved, as are John Cori and other Rockaway residents.

In addition to an emergency sand replenishment project, Meeks said he and other officials are also working on plans to help businesses adversely affected by the sudden beach closing.

The Rockaway Re­formulation Pro­ject, which will address Rockaway-wide beach protection, is sche­duled to begin in 2019.

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