Patchogue Village will soon be facing a big decision as it upgrades Shorefront Park.
Will the village elect to retain the park’s large stretch of bulkhead along the bay, or instead build a more passive shoreline consisting of beaches, berms, rocks and boulders?
Click here to look at examples of riprap, which the village is considering
“The consensus of the engineers is that a more passive shoreline would be more dissipative there; it would allow for the natural ebb and flow of the waters,” explained Dennis Smith, the Business Improvement District director who’s also coordinating the village’s parks overhaul efforts. “You would diminish some of the flood risk you have there now. And, from an ecological standpoint it would be the better way to go.”
“We’ll figure out how much it will cost,” added Smith, who addressed the issue at a BID meeting Tuesday.
Other factors to consider if opting to go with a passive shoreline, is that the new beach-like area will encroach upon the existing parkland by about 35 feet, he said.
“How would that impact all our good ideas? How would we rearrange the furniture,” he asked.
Some of those ideas have included a possible ice skating rink or splash park for children.
The big decision comes as Patchogue Village moves closer to approving a master plan for improving all of its parks after receiving $5 million from an anonymous benefactor, with $350,000 of that amount going toward the Patchogue Theatre renovations.
Mayor Paul Pontieri said the call at Shorefront Park will likely come down to cost.
“Unfortunately, like with most things, it’s going to come down to that,” Pontieri said. “$5 million is a lot of money until you put pen to paper. When we look at the entire project and see what the needs are, we have to figure out how to stretch [the money] and get the greatest benefit.”
He said any modification to the bulkhead would be “tremendously expensive.”
“It could probably suck up 3/4s of the money,” he said. “But we’re looking at the things that will best protect the waterfront and homes down at the south end. That ranges from repairing the bulkhead, to ripping out the bulkhead, to putting up berms. But Mother Nature is Mother Nature; anything above a six-foot storm surge is coming into the neighborhoods no matter what happens.”
Smith also said that if the bulkhead were to be removed, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get approvals from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to ever put it back.
The state is generally opposed to any shoreline hardening.
Smith said there is a meeting Friday between the village and the firms hammering out the master plan that will help inform the village’s decision at Shorefront.
“There’s been a lot of tweaking and changing, and now we’re going to really hone in on what the final plan will be,” he said.