Town: Fire Island marina has $2M-plus in storm damages
Churning waves kicked up by a storm last month caused at least $2 million in damage to a Davis Park marina, destroying docks and boardwalks used by hundreds of summer residents, Brookhaven Town officials said.
The Oct. 29 storm — which officials said caused far more damage in the Fire Island community than Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 or superstorm Sandy in 2012 — ripped wood planks off the ferry dock, pulled parts of the boardwalk from a bulkhead and eroded sand on the beach.
“I was over there after Sandy and Irene, and this damage was worse than those two combined at Davis Park,” Brookhaven chief of operations Matt Miner said at a town board meeting Thursday.
While parts of the marina have been reopened to boats and ferries, Miner said the storm caused “significant damage” that officials plan to repair in time for Memorial Day weekend next year.
The storm also damaged plumbing and electrical systems and light fixtures, officials said. Miner estimated the storm caused $2 million to $3 million in damage.
Davis Park is a community of about 350 houses that is accessible mainly by private boats, and ferries from Patchogue. The marina holds about 200 boat slips.
Brookhaven officials said last month’s damage highlights the need to build a jetty west of Davis Park to protect the area during future storms. A jetty, or sea wall, would require state approvals, officials said.
“All the docks have been damaged to a certain level. Some have been destroyed,” Town Councilman Neil Foley said in an interview. “If we don’t find a solution to build a sea wall on the western side of Davis, we’re going to see this kind of damage every couple of years.”
Foley said a jetty was destroyed by a storm about two decades ago and never was replaced.
“When we get that westerly storm, those westerly winds, it damages the whole entire place,” he said.
Miner said engineers soon will inspect comfort stations on the boardwalk for possible damage caused by salt water to electrical wiring and transformers.
He said town officials must determine how to pay for repairs. Options include increasing the town’s capital budget, canceling scheduled capital improvement projects or using reserve funds, he said.
Foley said repairs will start as soon as possible to make the marina ready by next summer.
“If we don’t start soon, it might affect next season,” he said. “If we start soon, we’ll be in good shape.”