Massapequa Park is spending more than $300,000 to fortify the waterfront Colleran Park from erosion that in the past decade has caused the loss of up to 30 feet of shoreline.
“We get these strong nor’easters, we get these strong onshore winds, and it just eats away at it constantly,” said Mayor Jeffrey Pravato. “Sandy really accelerated it.”
The village board last week unanimously approved paying Mattituck-based Gatz Sitework and Landscape Construction Inc. $312,200 for the erosion stabilization project for the Whitewood Drive park, using money from a 2013 bond.
“We need to get this done before the park is eroded any further,” Pravato said.
Work is expected to begin in January, with completion by the spring, said Bob Macri, the village’s public works superintendent.
The continuing erosion is visible in the sand that is encroaching upon the grass in the southern part of the 3.6-acre park, which fronts Great South Bay.
“It eroded so much that a bench was practically in the water, so we had to move the bench back,” Macri said.
The shoreline currently comprises rocky sand. Gatz will plant sea grasses that have a strong root system to hold together the shoreline, and will place large stones along the shore, so waves “will crash against the stone as opposed to bare sand or dirt.”
“Those two things will act as a barrier for the storm surge that hopefully we don’t have in the upcoming years,” Macri said.
Gatz also will remove debris from Sandy and other storms — including pieces of dock and bulkhead — that are buried in the ground, he said. Clean fill will replace it.
The 3 feet of saltwater from Sandy that covered the park did more than cause erosion. It also destroyed the grass and a number of trees, Macri said. The ground was reseeded for new grass, but the saltwater that permeated the soil continues to harm the trees.
“We’re finding over time the trees are slowly losing their leaves,” he said.
Trees that are dying will be replaced, with high-salt soil replaced by clean fill.