Workers will install a retaining wall in February at the Kings Park Bluff to stop erosion and protect a popular boardwalk, Smithtown officials said.
The site at the end of Old Dock Road overlooking the Nissequogue River suffered severe erosion after 2018 storms threatened a parking lot and forced town officials to close a boardwalk used by walkers and sightseers, Councilman Thomas Lohmann said.
Council members voted 5-0 last Thursday to approve a roughly $126,000 contract for the work.
Town officials had first tried to stem erosion by laying $25,000 worth of clean fill on the bank, but the fill eroded too, Lohmann said, compromising the boardwalk and stairs that led down to the beach. “We really didn’t have any choice” but to install the revetment, he said.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation last year issued a permit for a 135-foot structure consisting of 1- to 1.5-ton boulders, with vegetation planted on the face of the bluff. Lohmann said the boulders would be packed in a wire frame with fill.
PSL Industries won the contract.
A number of private waterfront properties to the east, in Nissequogue Village, are also armored. Some residents and scientists have said that widespread armoring damages the coastline. A DEC spokeswoman did not specifically address that in an email but wrote that the permit was issued after a “careful review to ensure the environment and public health are protected.”
Lohmann said the spot, with a boat ramp and views of the river and the Long Island Sound, is one of the town’s most popular recreational facilities. “People walk, watch the sunrise, sunset. They’ll eat up there, sit in their cars” and watch the water, he said.
Linda Henninger, Kings Park Civic Association president, said in a text message that the bluff was a “treasure in our community. We are grateful the Town of Smithtown is putting resources into the maintenance of the bluff.”