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Long Beach to spend $8.6M to build concessions, bathroom facilities along boardwalk

A view of the Long Beach boardwalk near

A view of the Long Beach boardwalk near Lincoln Boulevard on Monday, March 9, 2015. The City of Long Beach is planning to use FEMA funds to build six new buildings along the boardwalk by this summer. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Long Beach officials will spend more than $8.6 million this spring to add five buildings for bathrooms and concessions along the boardwalk.

The city is set to be reimbursed with disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to add buildings for shade, outdoor showers and rest areas along the 2.2-mile boardwalk.

The buildings will be elevated and offset to the back of the boardwalk along Lincoln, Riverside, Edwards, Grand and National boulevards to replace bathrooms that were first built closer to the beach and were destroyed by superstorm Sandy.

"FEMA doesn't like to put buildings back in harm's way where they could be destroyed again," Long Beach Public Works Commissioner Jim LaCarrubba said.

The city is required to first spend funds to replace buildings destroyed by the 2012 storm and then submit the claims for FEMA reimbursement. They must be built to standards that make the buildings more storm-resilient, LaCarrubba said.

A $7.95 million project was awarded last week to Plainview-based Grace Industries. Separately, a $145,500 contract for electrical work was awarded to Islandia-based Baltray Enterprises, $360,000 to Islandia-based Bancker Construction for plumbing, and $220,000 to the Syosset-based LiRo Group for design.

The buildings will have indoor concession areas, shaded tables and adjacent bathrooms.

Concession vendors have not been selected. The city will open bids to food vendors as well as vendors to run a bike-share program.

The city took input from residents on what they would like to see built on the boardwalk, including nearly 1,300 online surveys and meetings with 165 residents in three focus groups. It was led by Sustainable Long Island, a nonprofit Farmingdale-based economic development organization that helped rebuild the boardwalk in 2013.

Residents ranked showers, concessions, fitness stations and tables among the top amenities they'd like to see added to the boardwalk.

The Riverside building is the first scheduled to be built and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day. The Edwards and National buildings are on target for June 24 and the Lincoln and Grand buildings are set to be done by Aug. 1. The National Boulevard building will also house a police substation manned at night.

The city has not yet set designs for buildings on New York and Virginia avenues or Long Beach and Neptune boulevards. Temporary bathrooms will be available on the beach through the summer.

The city is also studying where to build a permanent lifeguard headquarters toward the eastern end of the boardwalk. Two previous lifeguard buildings were destroyed in prior storms and an Army Corps of Engineers dune project is planned for where the building previously existed.

"Putting the building back on the beach is not an option to the city anymore," LaCarrubba said.

Future improvements could be adding greenery and gardens near the boardwalk that can withstand coastal weather. Cooling stations with mist machines and additional boardwalk extensions could be planned next year, LaCarrubba said.

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