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Army Corp pitches Long Beach storm protection plan

Diane S. Rahoy, project manger with the U.S.

Diane S. Rahoy, project manger with the U.S. Army Corp, right, answers some questions regarding the Long Beach dune restoration project during a public meeting, Thursday evening, March 6, 2014, at Long Beach's City Hall. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A plan to strengthen Long Beach's oceanfront is necessary to prepare the barrier island city for the possibility of another once-in-a-century storm, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers officials told city residents Thursday.

The Army Corps' $178 million plan to protect Long Beach from future storms would include nearly 5 million cubic yards of sand and at least 22 new or rehabilitated groins, and work could start this fall, federal officials have said. Army Corp officials pitched the project to Long Beach residents Thursday at City Hall.

The project would reduce the risk of damages occurring due to a storm that has a 1 percent chance of happening every year -- a 100-year storm -- Army Corp project planner Donald E. Cresitello said at the presentation.

"This project would have significantly reduced the damage from Sandy," he said, adding that Sandy was a 180-year storm.

The project would be paid for by the federal government and would be a system of dunes, berms and groins -- protective structures that jut out from the shoreline -- to protect Long Beach, Lido Beach and Point Lookout, Army Corp spokesman Chris Gardner has said.

Superstorm Sandy, in October 2012, caused an estimated $250 million in damage in the city of Long Beach.

Most residents who spoke privately with Army Corp officials after the presentation were receptive to the project.

"It's protecting our assets, it's protecting Long Beach," resident Larry Moriarty said. "We need protection. We were vulnerable."

Long Beach's city council rejected an Army Corps beach-protection plan in 2006 after numerous residents opposed the project. The city signed on to the Army Corps' new effort to craft a disaster prevention plan in March 2013.

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