Long Beach (WALK) - It's a day one Long Island community and its visitors have been waiting for since superstorm Sandy. The city of Long Beach officially has its boardwalk back.
Elected officials and members of the Long Beach city council placed the final plank in place, and participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the foot of Long Beach Boulevard Friday. The celebration was to feature a performance by the Long Beach High School marching band.
Today the marks the first time the new boardwalk is open to the public for its entire 2.2-mile length. Shorter stretches were open to the public earlier during the construction process.
According to city officials, the project was completed on time and under budget. Reconstruction of the boardwalk cost $44.2 million. City officials must now determine how much of the tab will be covered by the federal government (FEMA).
They also claim that the new boardwalk is stronger, safer and "smarter," built with structurally sound materials including sustainable, resilient Brazilian tropical hardwoods and concrete. It also features a retaining wall beneath the boardwalk to protect the it from severe storms.
The new boardwalk replaces the historic original structure, which was wrecked by Sandy almost exactly one year ago. It will include retro-styled light poles to provide a nostalgic feel, in honor of the original boardwalk. Returning to the boardwalk will be the more than 700 memorial benches that lined its length, before Sandy. The city has restored the benches after removing them, before the remains of the original boardwalk were demolished.
Photo: City of Long Beach