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Fire Island is back, say Brookhaven officials

Afternoon sunshine drenches Bay Avenue browsers, shoppers and

Afternoon sunshine drenches Bay Avenue browsers, shoppers and strollers in the Ocean Beach section of Fire Island. (June 22, 2013) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Brookhaven officials plan to hold a news conference and tour of Fire Island businesses Monday to hail the communities' comeback from superstorm Sandy.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine and the council members who represent Brookhaven's Fire Island communities, Tim Mazzei and Dan Panico, plan to host a walking tour of the area near the Fire Pines Marina.

Romaine said the campaign is meant to remind people that Fire Island's summer season is under way and the resort communities open for business.

"I got a call from a couple [of] merchants in Cherry Grove, and they said 'No one's coming in. Business is way off, and I think they think because of Sandy we're not open, but we're all reopened,' " Romaine said.

"Fire Island is back, it's ready for business, it's open. It's a great place to vacation, it's a great place to enjoy the beach, it's a great lifestyle there. We want people to have a good time," he said.

Islip town officials made a similar announcement recently.

On the Island alone, officials have said, Sandy's winds and high tides destroyed natural dunes and beaches as well as man-made structures such as boardwalks, the lighthouse dock and visitor facilities, causing $10 million in damages.

The boardwalk and most of the walkways have been repaired, and dunes are being rebuilt.

The Davis Park marina escaped serious damage from the October storm, Romaine said.

And while recovery is ongoing, Romaine said the tourist season can be enjoyed just like old times.

"There's still work that has to be done but nothing to prevent a tourist from enjoying a great weekend over there, or renting a house for a week, and enjoy the beach and go to the restaurants," Romaine said.

"We're trying to say to people, 'come on over,' " he said. "We survived, we rebuilt, we're reopened."

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