The many short-and long-term challenges to rebuilding along the coast in the wake of the recent “superstorm” are indeed daunting, as a special pullout section in this issue called Rebuilding From Sandy shows.
For businesses such as Two Little Fish restaurant in Westerly, the damage threatens owners’ livelihoods. For countless property owners, decisions to rebuild homes and reinvest in summer residences can be life-changing. Those are the short-term consequences for which there are thankfully a host of resources available through the state and private firms identified in lists also found in the section.
The lure of the thriving summer beach economy and value of surrounding property are so great that most businesses and homes destroyed along the coast will be rebuilt, as quickly as owners are allowed.
“We’ve already spent next year’s rent trying to mitigate the damages here,” Two Little Fish co-owner Tim Brennan told PBN. Yet he’s committed to reopening by next spring.
Pressure to rebuild property and public access to beaches quickly is clearly building. But that should not obscure the need for officials to begin addressing long-term issues of how best to protect them from the next major storm. If it means delaying or further restricting rebuilding in the most vulnerable areas, then those are tough decisions communities must be willing to begin making. •