Beginning this week, the federal government will start rebuilding huge swaths of Rockaway's beaches which were washed away during Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Sandy's destruction is still evident but the rebuilding in the Rockaways is set to take another step forward this week. After the hurricane swept much of the sand from the beach onto nearby streets the Army Corps of Engineers will begin bringing the shoreline back to its mid 1990's level.
"When you look this way, we still have a beautiful ocean, but when you turn around you kind of like you're reminded of what happened a couple of months ago," said one Rockaways resident.
The project will add 600,000 cubic yards of sand from Beach 89th to Beach 149th streets. That's particularly good news for already battered homeowners near the water looking for any added protection.
"Very happy that they are going to do that, it makes me feel a little safer. The water won't get up as quick if we have a longer beach," said one Rockaways homeowner.
"We've been actually waiting for a while for them to bring the sand back, if we have the slightest storm we see the water come out all the way to the beach wall," said another Rockaways homeowner.
The Army Corps of Engineers will lead the project and it will cost $10 million, all of it paid for by the federal government with money from the Sandy Aid Bill.
"Probably the best protection you can have and get done quickly is to have ample sand on the beach. So if God forbid in the next several months there's another big storm, the more sand you have on the beach, the safer these homes are," said Senator Charles Schumer.
A beach wall and some sandbags are now in place. Rockaway residents are supportive of these first steps, though they say work needs to be done to protect the peninsula in the long run. Many advocates want jetties and large dunes.
"You gotta protect to the benchmark of what Sandy gave us, because if not we're playing Russian Roulette," said Eddy Pastore of Friends of Rockaway Beach.
"You know have the sand put back is great, there's a lot of other stuff that has to be done here, but it's a start," said one Rockaways homeowner.
A planned phase two of the sand replenishment project is expected to bring three million cubic yards of sand to the beach, and it could get under way as soon as September.