Beach pavilion inaugurated in Westerly

 Beach pavilion inaugurated in Westerly

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island beach pavilion renovated after the destruction of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 was dedicated this week.

The Frank “Shorty” Comforti Pavilion at the Town Beach in Westerly has been open about six weeks, but the official ribbon-cutting attended by Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse was held Monday.

“This is really incredible,” said Jeff Behrendt, of Poughkeepsie, New York.

Behrendt said he’s been coming to Westerly for 30 years and he recalled the destruction from Sandy.

“I felt really terrible over that,” he said.

After the storm ripped decks and ramps from the building, flooded it, and destroyed the septic system, town officials decided on a $1.57 million renovation.

Monday when officials cut the ribbon, they mentioned that the facility has upgraded concession stand and restrooms.

“It was rusty and rundown, this is a newer, modern version,” said Claudia Cappa, of Yorktown, New York.

The building was moved 30 feet inland, raised 3 feet and fortified against wind damage. Its new decks are engineered for large crowds, and ramps and bathrooms comply with federal disability standards.

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse helped secure federal funding to pay for 85-percent of the recovery.

“It did devastating damage on this beach. When I first came here, I didn’t know if we could recover,” said Reed.