(WBNG Binghamton) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the reopening of Robert Moses State Park and the Jones Beach State Park boardwalk for the 2013 summer park season.
According to a news release:
Among the most heavily visited parks in the state park system, Robert Moses and large sections of Jones Beach have been closed since October due to severe damage from Superstorm Sandy.
“Destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc at Robert Moses and Jones Beach State Park; however once again the perseverance and hard work of New Yorkers has allowed us to get all of our parks back open in time for the Memorial Day weekend -- the unofficial kick off to summer,” said Governor Cuomo. “The beaches are ready, the boardwalk is back, and the parks are open. New York is ready for a great start up to the summer.”
Jones Beach State Park, with 6 million annual visitors on average, suffered extensive damage within all of its facilities including major damage to its infrastructure which included the world famous boardwalk, electrical systems, plumbing systems, sanitation systems, as well as flooding of facility buildings.
Twenty-five separate emergency contracts were deployed on Jones Beach with more than 200 contract employees ensuring the work was completed in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Over the last seven months, 1.5 miles of the Jones Beach Boardwalk have been repaired with more resilient materials, such as Brazilian hardwood. These hardwoods are more durable and better able to withstand the harsh oceanfront exposure.
In addition to the boardwalk repairs, the sewage treatment plant at Jones Beach is back online, and roofing, fencing, lifeguard shacks, and toll booths have been replaced and repaired as well. Masonry repairs along the boardwalk are also complete. Electrical panels were raised 10-12 feet to reduce the chance of being impacted again by flooding.
At Robert Moses State Park, which welcomes roughly 3.5 million visitors annually, severe erosion occurred throughout the beachfront – with the most damage done on the east end of the park at Fields 4 and 5. There was also significant damage to the Field 5 boardwalk, electrical and utilities services and severe erosion and damage to the east side of the traffic circle at the Water Tower.
State Parks and the Office of General Services (OGS) coordinated the replenishment of more than 500,000 cubic yards of eroded sand that was placed on Field 4 and 5 beachfronts as a result of the adjacent State Boat Channel dredging located near the Captree Marina. Approximately 150,000 cubic yards of sand was placed on the beachfront at Field 4 and approximately 400,000 cubic yards of sand was placed at Field 5. Boardwalk repairs have been completed, using Brazilian hardwoods and design to make a more storm-resistant boardwalk
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) set the tone for the park reopening with a $32.2 million project to replace a two-mile stretch of Ocean Parkway destroyed near Gilgo Beach; rebuild damaged lanes to the traffic circle in Robert Moses State Park; and restore five miles of protective sand dunes and native vegetation washed away by the storm.
Reopening the parks will allow New York State to welcome what will be the largest event on Long Island since Sandy, the 10th anniversary of the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend the two day event. The Air Show, with an estimated 250,000 spectators, is a big contributor to the $410 million dollar annual impact State Parks have on the Long Island economy, as reported by a recent Parks and Trails New York study.