(rendering of a possible bump-out w/shade, concessions, seating and bathrooms)
Sustainable Long Island hosted three public meetings this week regarding the Phase II of our boardwalk. This phase concerns design elements, amenities (bathrooms!) and concessions. For those who weren’t able to attend, you can still participate via online survey: [LINK]. This survey does not last forever, so take it as soon as you can.
I attended one of these meetings, so here’s my experience:
First of all, there are plenty of conspiracies on how our city already decided this phase II; how these meetings are just a PR stunt. While I do love a good conspiracy, I’m also quite gullible, yet hopeful. I truly believe the input from these meetings will create an outline for the future of our boardwalk. Whether that’s true or not is one thing, but we did get to speak out loud as to what we want. I cannot see the city or Sustainable LI ignoring what we said. The process was very fun and interactive. The Sustainable Long Island representatives were extremely knowledgable and encouraged us to think big and be creative. They made me feel like my input matters.
How does the City of Long Beach plan on paying for Phase II amenities? I took a screen shot of that info:
FEMA will be paying for 10 buildings the same size as before (concessions, bathrooms, etc.). None of these buildings will be on the actually beach (due to DEC regulations), so the boardwalk it is. Bump-outs is one idea as to where they could go. Extra funds will have to magically appear if we go beyond what FEMA gives us. With that, my motto is “keep it limited, but make it look really nice”.
Us residents were split up into small groups based on what table we were sitting at. With the guidance of a Sustainable LI rep, we talked about the following topics:
- What type of amenities we would like (bathrooms, food, retail, art, shade, music, etc)
- What type of concessions we would like at these amenities
- How many bump-outs
- Location of the bump-outs
Every idea we came up with was voted upon. It was pretty interesting because while I do have very strong opinions on what I want, the overall results were a good balance. I got a understanding of what was most important to my fellow group members and why.
The idea of bump-outs lead to so many questions. We were told they had to be on the north side of the boardwalk, but how would that work? Would they extend over the streets? Would we lose parking spots? Another big topic was the amount of concessions: we already have food trucks and mobile vendors. Would these concessions be a replacement? Plus with the possible iStar development, how much food/retail do we really need and want? Again, this whole process was just a wish list. FEMA is giving us 10 buildings, so lets figure out what we want and don’t want. Sustainable LI will present these results at a City Council Meeting in September where the process will then move into a final phase.That was the impression I got.
Some amenities and concession ideas that were thrown around my group included:
- Greenery, plants, trees
- Shade (Pergola)
- Art/sculptures on the boardwalk
- Food (pretty much everybody said no junk food. Only quality stuff)
- Light Retail (sun screen, towels, etc.)
- Fitness stations (bring back those pull bars?)
- A remote Police Station (security was a big concern)
- More events and entertainment: Quiksilver Pro, vendor/craft fairs.
- Showers/Mist stations indoor/outdoor (mostly for tourists to get these folks to stay here longer and spend $)
My personal feeling: if we have concessions, then seating with shade would be nice mixed with art and greenery. I just want it to look nice, classy, beachy and simple. I really want art and sculptures to give these amenities some soul (here are some beautification ideas that I posted about in the past). My group stressed how we do want amenities, but only on the bump-outs. I personally wouldn’t want to see the bike lanes or the current boardwalk lanes to be obstructed by anything.
When it was my groups turn to speak, I mentioned the idea of having a bandshell/gazebo as an alternative to the concerts on the beach- a place for local musicians or school events, etc.. Smaller scale events that would not require the mobile stage. Just an idea, so don’t shoot me if you think that’s terrible.
Using a map of the boardwalk, my group placed stickers as to where we’d like to see the bump-outs and amenities (photos below). The bump-outs are represented by the yellow post-it notes. The colorful stickers represent what is on the chart below. Are we right with our choices? It’s so subjective. I personally want less, but this was the result of six people. It was interesting to see each persons vision.