The federal government is picking up the full $1 billion tab for four post Hurricane Sandy rebuilding projects.
Senator Charles Schumer says the projects include creating higher dunes, building stronger beaches and seawalls, and raising homes along more than 100 miles of coastline from Brooklyn and Queens to eastern Long Island.
Schumer says the projects will protect neighborhoods from future floods.
The Hurricane Sandy relief bill passed by Congress originally required the federal government to pay for just 65 percent of the projects.
Schumer says local governments probably would not be able to cover the costs, leaving the projects incomplete.
Rockaway Beach resident John McGuire says he has watched the beach erode with little done to protect it for the past 40 years.
"If they build more rock groins to see if it would stabilize and hold the beach," suggested McGuire.
The Army Corps of Engineers says groins, long arms of rock stretching out into the water, coupled with other protections are a possibility in the future.
The main project calls for rebuilding a six mile sand beach 10 feet high and 100 to 200 feet wide.
"It really hurts to see how the people can't walk next to the beach can't feel the aura around it," said Rockaway Beach resident Jose Santiago.
"I hope they don't wait 'til lifeguard season to put that giant machinery down and spend the month, two month process of digging and pumping sand because there really is no other place for surfers to go surfing," said one surfer.
The city has said most of the beach will reopen this summer. However, with so much work ahead, residents say it could be the first time summer may come too soon.