New bulkhead along canal in Bay Park hailed

The Rev. Charles Romano, pastor of St. Raymond

The Rev. Charles Romano, pastor of St. Raymond Roman Catholic Church of East Rockaway, blesses the fleet during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new bulkhead along the Grand Canal in Bay Park. The Rev. Stephan Hurkens, pastor of the East Rockaway Church of the Nazarene, is at right. (Aug. 3, 2013) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

About 40 people gathered Saturday to celebrate the completion of a new bulkhead that runs the length of the Grand Canal in Bay Park, which Hempstead Town officials say should help curb shoreline erosion caused by storms and tidal action.

"The winds of change have arrived here in Bay Park, and with the new bulkhead and refurbished roadways, this beautiful Grand Canal is better than ever, just like this community," said Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray at the ribbon-cutting event.

Bay Park and the surrounding areas were hit hard by superstorm Sandy -- some homes near the new bulkhead are still boarded up or being repaired.

The bulkhead project started in fall 2011 and was completed in spring 2012. The street-improvement project began in fall 2012 and was finished this past spring. The combined cost was over $4 million, funded by the town.

Murray was joined by several other elected officials at the event, including town senior Councilman Anthony Santino, who said Saturday's event was also about celebrating the "rebirth, the renewal and the restoration of Bay Park."

"This community took it hard," he said. "While Sandy may have done structural damage, it really could not in the end do anything to knock down the spirit of Bay Park."

Dan Caracciolo, of neighboring East Rockaway, brought his daughters to the event. Caracciolo, 33, is president of the11518, a group formed after Sandy to share resources and information with storm victims in East Rockaway and Bay Park.

"It makes me feel like we are moving in the right direction," Caracciolo said of the bulkhead completion. "But there is so much work still to do."

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