A public works project is shoring up a private beach.
Pols broke ground on a project to reinforce Seagate’s residents-only coastline on Feb. 14, but officials say the $25-million, federally funded undertaking will be a boon for Coney Island’s public beaches, as well.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building four “T-Groin” jetties and “stone armoring” at Norton Point to prevent erosion on Seagate’s southern shore. Some locals have criticized the plan because the neighborhood’s private beaches will benefit from public money, but the Army Corps and congressional representatives say that if Seagate’s shoreline fails, Sodom by the Sea could get caught with its trunks down.
The southern side of Seagate’s beachfront abuts the W. 37th Street groin that marks the People’s Playground’s western border, and according to the Corps, if Seagate’s beaches are washed away, erosive forces could start taking the sand out from under the jetty that protects the public beach.
“With continued erosion, there is a major risk of flanking the W. 37th Street Terminal Groin, which may lead to groin failure and significant impact to the Coney Island Public Beach,” according to information from the Corps.
Workers will also dump enough sand to fill four Olympic-size swimming pools on Seagate’s exclusive shores to replenish the eroded coastline, which shrunk dramatically during Hurricane Sandy, according to a joint statement from federal lawmakers.
The Corps replenished the beach from Brighton Beach to Seagate as part of a larger 1995 resiliency project, and the feds promised to keep Seagate from washing away in the future, a congressional spokesman said.
“When the original project was built, Seagate was guaranteed their beach levels would never go below 1988 pre-project condition levels,” said Robert Gottheim, a spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–Bensonhurst).
The work is expected to be done by the summer of 2016, officials said.