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Amityville municipal beach improvements likely delayed

A plan to add amenities to Amityville's municipal beach is likely to be delayed as officials consider revisions and seek funding from the state for related improvements.

The plan includes a sprinkler run, shaded seating area and boccie and shuffleboard courts that supporters said would lift flagging attendance at the beach without compromising its view of the Great South Bay.

About $300,000 in state grant money already in hand would pay for those amenities, and trustees said earlier this year that they hoped construction would be finished in time for the summer season.

But the project is likely to be held up until trustees determine costs and a timeline for help on infrastructure improvements they hope will come from the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program, designed to help storm-damaged communities rebuild.

Those improvements include repairs to the access road to the beach and parking lot and refurbishment of a Sandy-damaged pavilion that housed offices, bathrooms and a small kitchen.

Trustee Nick LaLota said it could be weeks before the village finds out details on the timing and amount of any help. Mayor James Wandell said it could be months.

"The village will continue to lobby New York Rising to get as much money as soon as possible," said LaLota.

The amenities plan could still be revised before it is finalized, officials said. James Koehler, who owns a kayak and sailing shop near the beach, said that paving or surfacing part of the beach to install some of the amenities could be disruptive for migratory birds who use the beach as a stopover point.

LaLota and trustee Kevin Smith said they would consider locating some of the amenities off the beach.

Kevin McAllister, a bay watchdog with the not-for-profit Quogue-based Peconic Baykeeper, warned that any permanent structure or surface on the beach -- which was built from dredged sand in the early 20th century -- would be at risk for future flooding in an area that is already seeing higher than normal stormwater levels.

"Any structure that you put out there has the potential for increased erosion" for the surrounding area and could be at risk itself, he said.

"You need to think about 20 years from now, where that water's edge will be."

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