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Blue Point presses town on bulkhead fixes

Terri Quinn, a Blue Point homeowner and Rick

Terri Quinn, a Blue Point homeowner and Rick Budamer, president of the beach association, stand by the damaged bulthead. (Jan. 26, 2013) Credit: Randee Daddona

Blue Point residents pressed Brookhaven Town lawmakers Saturday to repair their beach community's deteriorating bulkhead before another major storm strikes.

The protective bulkhead, located where Great South Bay meets the southern edge of Blue Point, has been damaged for years, Town Councilman Timothy Mazzei said, but it was further weakened by a 2007 nor'easter.

Tropical Storm Irene and superstorm Sandy inflicted additional damage.

Homeowners who live near the shore, including those on Bergen and Grandview avenues, and Clearview Place, were hit hard by Sandy. The wooden bulkhead broke apart in places, sending torrential waves into their properties, they said.

Carol Bodamer, who lives a block from the bay, said the flooded streets "looked like river rapids."

Don and Rachel Kazmark, who moved into their Blue Point home after marrying in August, said they've been forced to stay with family in Medford. Flooding caused by Sandy heavily damaged their home.

"It doesn't feel like we have a home anymore," Rachel Kazmark said.

Mazzei said the bulkhead should have been fixed before Sandy hit. After the 2007 storm, $325,000 in federal funding was allocated for the project, but it hasn't been spent, he said.

He was among the local lawmakers and property owners Saturday who toured the bulkhead, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Brookhaven Highway Department.

Mazzei told residents that he plans to introduce a resolution that would boost oversight of the highway department's budget, but offered no specifics

An election to fill the highway superintendent post will be held March 5. One of the candidates, state Assemb. Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham), addressed homeowners with Mazzei during a community forum Saturday afternoon at Bayport United Methodist Church.

Losquadro promised, if elected, to work with state and federal agencies to see the bulkhead repair project through.

"There are solutions available, and we will find them," he said.

Also running for highway superintendent is Town Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh.

But the election seemed far off to weary residents such as Lisa Hofelich, who has lived in Blue Point for 3 1/2 years. "We've got a long way to March," she said.

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