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SI Beaches Reopen For Memorial Day Weekend After Post-Sandy Cleanup

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TWC News: SI Beaches Reopen For Memorial Day Weekend After Post-Sandy Cleanup
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Some thought it wasn't possible, but Staten Island's beaches are ready to go in time for the holiday weekend after going under some major post-Hurricane Sandy renovations. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

It may not look or feel like beach weather yet, but when it does, the New York City Parks Department said it will be ready.

On Friday, the agency announced the opening of Staten Island's beaches, closed since Hurricane Sandy, in time for the long holiday weekend.

"Today is momentous, because a lot of people thought we couldn't get here," said New York City Parks Commissioner Veronica White. "But we got here.

Reopening the island's four beaches in time for the Memorial Day weekend proved a Herculean task. Hurricane Sandy chewed up walkways and bike paths, and threw sand from the beach onto parking lots and neighborhoods. The sand that remained was filthy.

The Parks Department commissioned the Army Corps of Engineers to clean it, so it could be recycled and put back on the beach.

"It's filled with all kinds of junk from the streets, and debris and wood and other stuff that's not so nice, so we had to sift out all the bad materials," said Colonel Paul Owen with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Temporary comfort and lifeguard stations have been installed as new modular units are built. The modular units are designed to withstand even the strongest storms.

Plans are also in the works to build berms along some portions of the island's east shore to mitigate the threat of future storms.

"We need to protect our entire shoreline, because there will be rainstorms again in the future, and we need to do what we can to protect our residents from this destruction that occurred and make sure it never happens again," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island.

While the island's beaches are open, many other beach amenities are not, like the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier and the South Beach Boardwalk. Repair work there is ongoing.

The Parks Department said it will continue to work around the clock to restore the rest of the island's beach facilities, targeting the Fourth of July weekend as a possible date that residents can expect to hear more good news.

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