Patchogue Village officials are very much leaning toward ripping out the bulkhead that runs along the Great South Bay in Shorefront Park and replacing it with a passive shoreline.
Even if that means eating up a big chunk of the $5 million coming from an anonymous benefactor for a village-wide parks overhaul, said Dennis Smith, who’s also coordinating the village’s parks rehabilitation efforts.
“The consensus is that a passive, dissipative shoreline seemed to be a better solution than leaving the bulkheading in there and having the bay crashing off the bulkheading and eroding everything else the water lands on after that,” Smith said.
He said that, currently, the bay water also tends to get trapped on the land instead of flowing naturally back into the bay.
Village officials will likely get the final plans — and cost estimates — for Shorefront Park early next month.
Even with the passive beach and shoreline, much of the conceptual plans village residents were presented with in October remains intact, Smith said. That includes a splash pad/skating rink in Shorefront Park near the existing playground, as well as a dog park for Four Sisters Park to the north, among other proposed amenities.
“Shorefront and Waldbauer parks are our priorities,” Smith said. “But that’s not to say we’re going to forget about the other ones. You might see an approach where we do more basic maintenance to the other parks and budget a schedule to work the rest of the [comprehensive plan] through over time.
Smith, who is also the Patchogue Village Business Improvement District director, said it could take much of 2016 to get state Department of Environmental Conservation permits in place for the big plans at Shorefront Park
It’s his hope to have construction underway in the spring of 2017.
Some of the existing infrastructure at Shorefront Park will likely be moved around — but not much — to clear room for the wading beach, berms, rocks and boulders that would make up the new shoreline, he said.
Since the state DEC is pushing for the de-hardening of shorelines, Smith said Patchogue Village officials are hoping grant money could help with the pricey efforts at Shorefront, which is the village’s largest park.
He also noted the beach area planned for Shorefront Park wouldn’t be for swimming.
“It’s for if you want to go down there with the kids to dip their toes in the sand, that fine,” he said. “It’s just going to be a passive beach with a nice view and something nice to look at and enjoy.”
Photo: The bulkhead that runs along Shorefront Park in Patchogue. (Michael White)