Community evicted from beach rentals

September 22, 2010 2:46:31 PM PDT
Summer days at the beach are numbered, and so it seems are the days left for renters at the Cedar Grove Beach Club.

"We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best," said Richard Piper, a club member.

So now the days for Richard Piper and his wife, Alice, are spent packing up.

The same goes for the 40 other families in the tiny hamlet of bungalows on Staten Island's South Shore.

They've been ordered out by the city's parks department.

The bungalows are set to be demolished.

Since the early 60's the members, through the club, have rented the area from the city for $140,000.

They must also clean the beach and pay for any repairs.

So why here?

Why now must they vacate at the end of September?

"He keeps saying we're here illegally. There is no law that says you can't live on public property," Eleanor Dugan, a club member said.

Club members say they haven't been able to meet with the parks commissioner and his office did not answer our request for an interview.

What they will also lose if they have to leave, the members say, is a wonderful sense of community.

"You don't sneeze at that end that the other end doesn't say God bless you," Dugan said.

Some of the renters have been at the club for 40 years, some going back even longer.

"I came here in 1938. I was just 9-years-old," said club member, Edith Holtermann.

It breaks her heart to leave this fond place.

"They haven't got money to do anything. They have our money is escrow to knock down the houses," Holtermann said.