Spin Cycle

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Disaster puts a dune plan back on the table for Long Beach

This is how a section of Long Beach's

This is how a section of Long Beach's battered boardwalk looked Saturday as Sen. Charles Schumer discussed plans to revive a dune project rejected by the city in 2006. (Credit: Dan Janison)

Long Beach was shortsighted, it now seems safe to say.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, among others, made mention in Sandy's destructive wake of how the city just a few years ago turned away from the Army Corps of Engineers' "storm damage reduction project."

Schumer brought it up to reporters last week while mentioning that he and fellow New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand submitted a billion-dollar request to the federal government for seven Army Corps projects already authorized for protecting beaches and low-lying areas.

He recalled how the corps' plan to build high dunes at Long Beach drew opposition from "a small group of homeowners" there -- "and the city said, 'Don't do it.' " But since the storm, the new city manager, Jack Schnirman, "has called me and said, 'I want it right away,' " Schumer said.

Indeed, the Long Beach City Council is due to take up a resolution Tuesday citing the extensive local damage due to waves and coastal flooding and the loss in the elevation of beach sand. The measure formally "reinvites" the Army Corps "to work in a positive manner" with the city on a dune project.

But in a visit to Long Beach on Saturday, Schumer demurred from elaborating on the wisdom of the city's 2006 rejection of the dune project. "I'm not going to look with 20-20 hindsight," he said. In remarks at a news conference where he addressed residents on a separate matter, Schumer politely chalked up the action -- under prior city leadership -- to a lack of awareness of the dangers faced.

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