Press Releases

Friday, October 29, 2010
No. 99

NYC Parks And U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Launch $13 Million Orchard Beach Shoreline Protection Project

250,000 Cubic Yards of Sand Added to Orchard Beach; Extension of South Jetty

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, New York District Commander Col. John R. Boulé, Congressman José E. Serrano and Congressman Joseph Crowley today launched the Orchard Beach Shoreline Protection Project at a groundbreaking ceremony at Section 9 of the Promenade. The purpose of this joint project between the City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to combat existing and prevent future beach erosion, by replacing lost sand and repairing the south groin. It will also make the beach safer by relieving overcrowding and eliminating dangerous drop-off zones. The 1.1 mile crescent-shaped Orchard Beach is a one of New York City’s most popular beaches, with over 1.4 million visitors this past summer. In attendance at the event were Aurelia Greene, Deputy Bronx Borough President; Kenneth Kearns, District Manager, Community Board 10; Friends of Pelham Bay Park; City Island Civic Association and Bronx Council for Environmental Quality.

“Parks is pleased to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replenish sand and restore the shoreline at Orchard Beach, known as the 'Riviera of the Bronx,'" said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "This WPA-era, man-made beach was last nourished with sand in 1964. Over time, the beach has lost sand naturally due to tides, winds, waves and storms. We are grateful to the U.S. Army Corps, Congressman José E. Serrano and Congressman Crowley for their support. We applaud their commitment to join us in preserving and protecting Orchard Beach, and helping ensure that this treasured gem can continue to be enjoyed by future generations of New Yorkers.”

Contractors mobilized shore pipe and bulldozers today, with sand replenishment estimated to begin next week at the northern sections of the beach and move south. 250,000 cubic yards of sand will be brought in by a hopper-dredge vessel and delivered to the beach through 3,500 feet of underwater hose. The hose will connect to piping on the beach and the sand will be slurried, or mixed with water, into place. In another aspect of the shoreline protection project, the south groin (jetty) will be extended by 350 feet and will receive a layer of bedding rock and large boulders to protect it. The extended groin will prevent sand from travelling around it and leaving the beach.

“This project represents an outstanding investment of public dollars to provide the great people of the Bronx with a first-class recreational beach in these tough economic times,” said New York District Commander Col. John R. Boulé. “We're excited to be partnering with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to restore Orchard Beach.”

The $13 million project is a cost-sharing partnership, with $7 million of the funding provided by U.S. Army Corps and $ 6 million of the funding provided by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Congressmen Serrano and Crowley have been staunch supporters of this project and played a significant role in getting the $7 million in federal funds appropriated to the U.S. Army Corps. Of the $6 million provided by the City, $2 million is through the Department of Environmental Protection and the Municipal Water Finance Authority in connection with the construction of the Croton Water Filtration Facility. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company of Oak Brook, Illinois will perform the work, which is expected to be completed before the beginning of the 2011 summer beach season.

“The million-plus users of Orchard Beach are going to find a lot more beach to enjoy next year,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “From improved safety for swimmers to more space for sunbathers, the beach restoration will help ‘’the Riviera of the Bronx’ live up to its historical reputation. It is great to work with such committed partners in this project from NYC Parks to the Corps of Engineers, and of course my good friend Joe Crowley. I look forward to using this remarkable public resource in its new and improved condition next year.”

“Today marks an exciting first step to expand and replenish Orchard Beach’s shores – opening access to this popular beach and preserving it for generations to come,” said Congressman Joseph Crowley. “This project will not only benefit residents, but will also make the Bronx a destination for visitors and investment. I am pleased to join my friend José Serrano, NYC Parks and the Corps of Engineers in the effort to restore Orchard Beach to its former glory and I look forward to joining all Bronxites at a beautifully restored Orchard Beach next summer.”

In 1936, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses transformed a small beach colony on Rodman’s Neck to its present shape -- a 1.1-mile-long crescent of fine white sand. To create Orchard Beach, the only public beach in the borough, Moses had 850,000 cubic yards of sand, topped with 350,000 cubic yards of white sand, barged in from the Rockaways and Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

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