Boardwalk to get $4 million makeover

NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — A boardwalk here battered by Hurricane Irene and again devastated by Hurricane Sandy is about to get a $4 million makeover.

“A lot of people around here are probably getting pretty anxious to see something go over there,” said First Selectman Paul Formica of the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, which is half of a larger platform.

Half of the boardwalk was rebuilt when Amtrak installed a new railroad bridge and now voters have paved the way for the other end to follow.

“Well, it’s been a few years and we wanted to take our time,” Formica said. “We want to make sure when we build it this time it’s the hundred year storm protection. We don’t want to do this again.”

It took voter approval of $4.4 million but the first selectman says it won’t take direct taxpayer money. Instead, FEMA money, a lawsuit settlement, insurance and a state grant will pay for it.

“We have $4.9 million put aside,” said Formica, adding that the boardwalk should be ready by Thanksgiving.

And for some, the repairs can’t come soon enough.

“Daisy wasn’t too thrilled with the beach so we thought we’d come down here and jump on the boardwalk and take a nice walk and I didn’t realize it was still closed after the storms,” said Sue Kemp of Rocky Hill, about walks with her dog Daisy.

While the walkway won’t be ready this summer, beachgoers might be happy to see construction under way.

“Oh I think that’s wonderful,” Kemp said. “We’ll have to come back and take our walk.”

The Niantic Bay Boardwalk will be similiar to the Amtrak half. There will be a cement walkway but underneath steel pilings instead of cement.

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