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FEMA OKs $7.5M Sandy reimbursement for Saltaire

Robert L. Cox, mayor in Saltaire.

Robert L. Cox, mayor in Saltaire. (Credit: Handout, 2008)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved $7.5 million in reimbursements for the Village of Saltaire to fix its boardwalk thoroughfares, which were gnarled by superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Robert Cox said the boardwalks, which act as the only roads for vehicles throughout the Fire Island village, were upended and structurally compromised in the storm, and that the village applied for FEMA reimbursements in November.

In December, the village awarded work to lowest-bidder Chesterfield Associates to repair two of the main walks — Atlantic Walk and West Walk — before summertime, but Cox said fixing all of the boardwalk roadways will take three to four years because the repairs have to be staggered.

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“One of the walks was lifted up 3 feet higher than it had been before,” he said. “And the others — the pilings underneath — had been, in some cases, knocked loose ... so the walk was sort of like a roller coaster, and as the weight of the vehicles went up and down the pilings went up and down. So they were not secure.”

New York senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who announced the FEMA awards in a news release, said getting the walks back in working order before the summer high season is vital to the small village.

“This critical funding will ensure Long Islanders don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of these expenses,” Schumer said in a statement.

Cox said the village, which in April passed its $3.3 million budget, would have been “severely hampered had we been forced to fund the repairs entirely on our own.”

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