Fire Island Pines residents rejoice after years of waiting for their beach to be restored

FIRE ISLAND PINES, New York (WABC) -- At the end of the month, it'll mark the seven-year anniversary since Hurricane Sandy hit New York and devastated communities across Fire Island. Now with the Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet or better known as the "FIMI" project, Fire Island Pines residents are counting down the days until their beach is back up and running.

This project is a one-time, stand-alone placement of sand to stabilize Fire Island until the larger Fire Island to Montauk Point "FIMP" project is implemented. Suffolk County and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation are the local sponsors of this US Army Corps of Engineer-designed and funded project.

"During Hurricane Sandy, we lost a lot of the beach as you can see," said FIPPOA Community manager Karen McCutcheon. "Everyone is just soo excited to see the replenished beach and what the outcome is."

The process of beach replenishment is a technique involving pumping sand onto an eroding shoreline for the purpose of reducing storm damage and increasing protection to coastal development and infrastructure. When complete, people and property behind the beach will have reduced risk of flooding and damage from severe storms and tidal surges.

"I think people have been waiting soo long that they are more than willing to put up with any inconvenience short-term construction the dune would cause," said resident Vinny Petraca. "As a business person here I can't stress how important the replenishment of that dune is, not just for the property value, but for the whole vibrancy of the Pines."

Dunes, home relocations, and public-access walkways round out a comprehensive $281 million flood-risk reduction project expected to be largely complete by summer 2020.

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