First off, I want to thank Anthony and the rest of the folks here at Sea by the City for loaning us this platform to give you all an update. For those who know, the concept behind Screw the Boardwalk originated on the pages of this blog, so it’s only fitting that it continues on here in some way shape or form.
Anywho, below is what constitutes my very much overdue – and rather wordy – update on where things stand with the Screw the Boardwalk initiative. My apologies for it taking so long, but there were a number of factors I needed to get ironed out before going back to you, the people, to solicit your thoughts.
Here we go:
First and foremost, the City is 100% behind this and wants to figure out a way to engage residents in restoring the boardwalk to its former glory (not that I know when that was, but I’m sure the boardwalk was glorious at some point in time). That said there are definitely some issues to figure out and hurdles to overcome, many of which I’ll outline for you here. When you’re done reading, I would love get your thoughts on how to proceed. This is, after all, a ‘grassroots’ effort. I might be driving the car, but I’m counting on all of you for directions. Please, please, pleeeeease share your thoughts either in the comments section below, or over on the Screw the Boardwalk Facebook page.
- There are insurance issues. Yes, everyone doing work will need to sign some sort of waiver absolving the city of any liability should you get hurt. Even with that being the case though, the City is concerned about the inherent dangerous nature of this work. You know, people doing work 12-14 feet up with no safely nets and the such. We can figure out ways to work around this.
- There are ‘quality of work’ issues. The City is going to be held liable for any and all work done on the boardwalk. The onus is on them to make sure all work meets City approval and standards. This means we’ll have to be well supervised. Like issue #1, we can clear this hurdle, I think.
- Here’s the big one. We all want better wood and we want to screw the sh*t out of the boardwalk, right? Well, there’s this little group called the Army Corp of Engineers that’s out there, and they’ve got a plan that, if approved, would involve ripping up the whole boardwalk, replacing it, building up higher sand dunes and a whole slew of other measures that would serve to protect our fair city from the next big hurricane, tsunami or zombie apocalypse.
Long Beach has been down this road before. The plan was basically rejected by the City some years back and has been stalled out since. We’re not here to debate the merits of said plan. I know it’s controversial. What I am here to say, however, is that the city isn’t looking to invest big money in buying better boards and start screwing the boardwalk until they know if it’s going to be torn down by the Army Corp, and that decision won’t be made for another year or two.
Personally, I can’t blame them. Why spend a ton of money on something that might get ripped up in pretty short order? I wouldn’t waste my money on that and I guess the City doesn’t want to waste theirs (I mean, ours) on it either.
So here’s where we stand.
The City has offered to give us a trial run in September once all those pesky out of towners finally leave us alone. They’ll break us up into smaller crews and we’ll get to have at it. Only problem is, we’ll be NAILING the boardwalk, not SCREWING it. And we’ll be using the same wood they’re currently using to replace boards. Again, why should the City waste money if the whole thing has the potential to be ripped up?
That said (and I know you can all attest to this) damn near all the boards on the boardwalk need to be replaced, so we could make some serious progress in improving the condition of the boardwalk in the near-term while others choose to debate the relative merits of the Army Corp’s plan and whether we’ll see whole sale changes made in the future. If we move forward with the City’s offer, they’ll essentially be using it as a trial run for a much larger event once a final decision gets made on the plan.
So what do you say people? Disappointed you won’t get to screw? I am, but I’m also happy to nail since I know it will help make some progress until a final decision is made.
Do we move forward and embrace a new mantra of Nail the Boardwalk, or do we say, “Screw it”. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
John and the committee to Screw (and/or Nail) the Boardwalk