By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bensonhurst officials said they are growing increasingly concerned over the economic impact Hurricane Sandy is having on their community.
Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11, said the superstorm caused major damage to stores in the Caesar’s Bay Shopping Mall, located at Bay and Shore parkways, and that two of the largest stores, Khol’s Department Store and Toys R Us, have not been able to reopen.
The shopping mall is located at the shoreline next to Gravesend Bay.
“We concerned and the economic impact the storm damage at Caesar’s Bay will have,” Elias-Pavia told board members at their Nov. 8 meeting.
“The shopping mall employs about 1,000 people,” she said. A Wendy’s fast food restaurant located at the mall’s entrance “employs 110 people,” Elias-Pavia said.
“That’s a lot of people out of work right now,” she said.
Elias-Pavia and Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello said the board would try to assist merchants in the mall by pushing the city to expedite the permit process to help the business owners rebuild their damaged properties. “We’ll try to get help for these merchants,” Guarinello said.
Bensonhurst officials are also seeking to expedite repairs to the Shore Parkway seawall. Hurricane Sandy smashed into the seawall with such force that it breached a 200-foot-long section located near 17th Avenue, Elias-Pavia said. “The ocean is very powerful,” she said.
Dep. Insp. James Rooney, commanding officer of the 62nd Police Precinct, said his cops have been keeping a close eye on the promenade next to the seawall. “There are areas that are unsafe. We’re trying to keep people away,” he told the board at the meeting.
Rooney said he has also assigned officers to the area around Caesar’s Bay to protect the shopping mall from looters.