As residents throughtout Greenwich continue to assess and try to repair the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, town officials are doing the same.
For Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Siciliano, it will be months before some of the town's recreational facilities will be up and running. The dock at Island Beach was destroyed by the tidal surges and 80 mph winds that pummeled the coastline on Oct. 29 and 30.
"The dock is gone. It's just the pilings looking like a bunch of sticks," Siciliano said. A sun shelter on the 3-acre park off Greenwich's coast also was lost. The town's other island—Great Captain's Island suffered land erosion and some damage to the metal landing at the dock, Siciliano said. The Island Beach dock was replaced in 1992 after it was destroyed by a nor'easter.
The town's other two beaches—Greenwich Point and Byram Park—were extensively damaged by Sandy.
Greenwich Point will remain closed to the public indefinitely, Siciliano said. The north concession stand with the lifeguard station in the 147-acre park in Old Greenwich was severely damaged with the walls of the structure blown out by Sandy's unrelenting surf.
"I drove into the park and I saw a stove ... then I saw the ice machine in the parking lot...I was thinking what happened," Siciliano said. At least two walls of the concession stand—the original livestock barn built by J. Kennedy Tod back in 1887—were knocked out. There also is much damage to the seawall to the front and side of the structure, which was slated for renovation and restoration by the Greenwich Point Conservancy (GPC).
Chris Franco, president of the GPC which completed restoration of the cottage in 2011, said, "The silver lining is that Hurricane Sandy did some of the demolition that would’ve been done anyway."
Franco said, "I had very high hopes that we would get our project through the permitting process. The need to move forward is even greater now because there is so much damage to the building. I think it might be slightly more expensive in terms of repairing wall…but in terms of the old barn, won’t effect us because we were doing such rebuilding."
Two weeks ago, Board of Selectmen approved municipal improvement status to the $650,000 barn project which will now go to the Planning and Zoning Board for review.
He added, "There's a lot of damage on one hand, but it's amazing that it’s not worse when compared to other parts of the region."
According to Franco, the dunes and landscaping around the Innis Arden Cottage were blown away by the storm as was the fencing that enclosed the cottage's energy court. "That will be replaced," Franco said. "The front of the Innis Arden Cottage ... the shingles took a beating," Siciliano said.
Adjacent to the building, screened by the dunes, is the park's power substation. "That was destroyed," he said. Also destroyed was the original carriage house to the Tod estate—a wooden structure that housed the Parks and Recreation Department's equipment, opposite the windsurfing launch area on the Point.
Two of the four sun shelters at Greenwich Point were so badly damaged they will be razed and replaced, Siciliano said. The chain link fence surrounding the dunes was ripped up and about 50 trees were felled by the winds.
According to Siciliano, the causeway leading from the Holly Grove to the Old Greenwich Yacht Club was 'significantly undermined" in three places and most likely will have to be replaced. One of the two caretaker's homes—the one at the park entrance—was flooded by the astronomical tides.
At the Griffith Harris Golf Club on King Street, there was significant tree damage and there isn't any power to the facility that also houses The Fairways restaurant. "We will assess on Monday when we can open," Siciliano said. The golf course and driving range have closed for the season.
Crews at Byram Park have cleaned up most of the flotsam that blew into the park including a boat house that formerly stood at the end of a jetty across the inlet from the park. However, major sections of the seawall were broken and the cinderblock walls of the bathhouse were destroyed.
The park reopened with limited public access over the weekend.
Siciliano said it is too early to calculate a cost estimate to the damage. However, he hopes that the repair costs will be covered by insurance or reimbursed through FEMA.