A shuttered portion of Rockaway Beach is poised to reopen in time for summer after city officials and the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced an agreement about how to replenish sand lost during coastal erosion. The stretch between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 103rd Street has remained closed since back-to-back nor’easters last March that pummeled the shore and contributed to significant erosion of one of the city’s best summer escapes.
Under the new agreement, about 300,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the East Rockaway Inlet Federal Navigation Channel will be used to fill the 11-block stretch of shoreline. If all goes according to plan—that is, depending on if dredging work commences on schedule in the coming months and on the storms that may hit the shore this spring—the dredging and replenishing work should begin in time for the beach to reopen this summer. As of now, the city’s beaches are set to officially reopen for swimming on May 25.
A small strip of sand between Beach 96th and Beach 98th streets was reopened to the public last summer after a plan to shutter the half-mile stretch from Beach 91st to Beach 102nd streets led to major outcry from area residents bemoaning the affect the closure would have on the local economy in its peak season. The two-block stretch was reopened in late June with new cooling stations, a temporary skate ramp, badminton and bocce, and other perks for beachgoers.
“We’re grateful to the Army Corps for enabling us to use the sand they will be dredging to replenish Rockaway,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said in a statement. “The City has always been exploring a way to reopen this section, and we’re very happy that the timing, cost and permitting processes aligned to enable this. We recognize that reopening is important for the community, and adds some additional protection for this coastal community while we await the Army Corps’ long-term reformulation project.”