Rockaway Beach closure ‘unacceptable,’ says BP Melinda Katz

The city plans to shutter a popular swath of Rockaway Beach this summer, saying erosion has made it unsafe for swimmers.

But Queens Borough President Melinda Katz slammed the decision to close the area between Beach 91st and Beach 102nd streets as “unacceptable” in a statement released late Monday.

“The city’s immediate plans for the Rockaways will significantly hurt the local community and Queens economy during the vital visitor season of the summer months, and shortchange one of the largest tourist attractions in the city,” Katz said. “The Rockaways deserve better.”

City beaches are set to open May 26.

A portion of the beach in Rockaway near the concessions and bathroom area on 97th Street will be available but visitors are not allowed in the ocean at that spot, officials said.

“The rebirth of Rockaway Beach stands as a symbol of this community’s strength and determination to move forward after the devastation of [superstorm] Sandy, so having to close even just a small portion of it is very difficult for us,” said New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver.

Another 4.5 miles of beach in Rockaway is slated to be open this summer for swimming and recreation.

Katz said the city did not do enough to ward off erosion, especially after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replenished sand in 2014.

“The community repeatedly warned the city that without permanent protective measures, the sand would soon need to be replaced again,” Katz said.

Parks department officials said the city is working with the Army Corps, pushing it to complete and release its Rockaway and Jamaica Bay Reformulation Project, which will outline permanent shoreline protection such as reinforced dunes and groins or jetties.

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