Rockaway Beach closure worries businesses

- Friday night at Low Tide Bar in Rockaway Beach means the dance floor is taken, the beers are flowing, and the Colombian food is the best in town. The owner Mike Powers wants people to know his place is open for business even though the beach is not.

The beach right across is part of the 11-block stretch, between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street, that will be shut down this summer. The Parks Department decided to close the beach right before Memorial Day because of safety concerns over beach erosion.

City Council Member Eric Ulrich said the closure is a slap in the face to this community. He said he wants an investigation into what the city knew and when.

Ulrich and Friends of Rockaway Beach brought their message to City Hall. They are demanding the city and Parks Department work to reopen the beach this summer. Ulrich wants the city to put money in the budget to replenish enough sand to reopen the beach midway through the season.

Some residents said this is also a safety concern. They worry that without the proper sand and dunes, the area could be a prime target during hurricane season.

Friends of Rockaway Beach founder John Cori said that the issue is not just about recreation. He said it is also about being vulnerable to the next Superstorm Sandy.

The Parks Department is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the erosion. But the plans to build more jetties and bring in more sand have yet to be finalized. The work isn't expected to start until 2019.

A Parks Department spokesperson told Fox 5 that more than 100,000 New Yorkers visited the 4.5 miles of open beach on the opening weekend.

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