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Ice-damaged bulkheads and a dock in Fire Island Pines to be repaired

The dock at Fire Island Pines, Aug. 8,

The dock at Fire Island Pines, Aug. 8, 2015. Brookhaven Town has approved a multi-million-dolar plan to replace the dock and bulkheads at the Fire Island Pines dock, which has been deteriorating and was damaged by ice last winter. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Fire Island Pines will get a new dock and bulkheads to replace aging material that was severely damaged by ice buildups last winter.

The Fire Island hamlet also will receive improvements to an erosion-control system designed to protect dunes. Both projects were approved Thursday by the Brookhaven Town Board.

The dock has been deteriorating for years and required immediate repairs earlier this year when ice "tore a chunk" out of it, Jay Pagano, president of the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association, said in an interview.

The damaged dock also gouged part of a Sayville Ferry boat that was attempting to dock there, Pagano said. Maintenance of the dock is paid for with funds from a special tax district, the Fire Island Pines Dock District.

"It's been there since the beginning. I'm not sure it's ever been replaced," Pagano said of the dock, which he said was built in the 1950s. "Getting a dock repaired is not so easy."

He said a visitor was injured by a loose plank on a nearby boardwalk, which also will be repaired as part of the project.

The town board approved a bond of up to $2.6 million to pay for the dock and bulkhead project, Pagano said.

Town spokesman Jack Krieger said the average dock district homeowner would pay an additional $252.20 per year for 20 years to pay off the bond. Pagano said the current average annual tax bill for the dock district is about $100.

The dock is expected to be rebuilt during the winter of 2016-17, town officials said.

"Because of wear and tear from its heavy usage, as well as its age, the dock will need to be replaced soon," senior assistant town attorney Marie Michel said.

The town board also approved plans to replace pilings on the dock. The pilings, known as dolphins, are intended to protect bulkheads from ice but were uprooted last winter as ice expanded throughout a frigid winter, town officials said.

Town officials plan to replace the pilings before this winter, Michel said.

The $70,000 cost of replacing the pilings will be paid for through a combination of dock district reserve funds and donations from the property owners association, Pagano said.

Also approved by the town board was a $53,000 plan to replace "trap bags" -- sand-filled containers placed on dunes to stem erosion -- that were damaged by recent storms. Funds for that project will come from the reserve fund of the Fire Island Pines Erosion Control District, town officials said.


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