Sandy aid workers told to vacate for beach season

Laborers remove debris from a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy on January 4, 2013 on Staten Island. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images.
Laborers remove debris from a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy on Jan. 4, 2013 on Staten Island. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

Volunteers running relief tents for Staten Island residents still struggling from the effects of Superstorm Sandy have been ordered by the Parks Department to relocate so the beaches can be readied for the summer reason, DNAinfo reports.

The five-tent complex, known as the Cedar Grove Community Hub, has reportedly been given three weeks to find a new base of operations.

They are currently set up at the entrance to New Dorp Beach, which the Parks Department wants to have open by Memorial Day.

Donna Graziano, the hub’s organizer, objected to the order, questioning the department’s understanding of local residents’ priorities.

“There are a lot of residents that don’t care about the park,” Graziano said. “They don’t have their homes.”

According to Graziano, no other location is large enough for all five tents, which have been steadily providing food, clothing, supplies and warmth to locals, some of whom reportedly still don’t have functional kitchens.

Tara Kiernan, spokeswoman for Parks Department, says the department is not only concerned with beach access but also needs to carry out work “to provide temporary emergency protective measures for the adjacent upland communities.”

She has advised the hub to coordinate with local nonprofits and community organizers to find a new home.

Andy Cush at Animal New York wondered if perhaps better problem-solving could be done.

“I’ve not been to the Cedar Grove hub, but there must be a compromise somewhere,” he said. “Can’t parks workers and beachgoers simply walk around the relief center on their way to the shore?”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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