Regional tourism officials and business leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon for an impromptu meeting convened by Olde Mistick Village owner Joyce Olson Resnikoff on Misquamicut Beach's recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and the result was a sizeable donation to the beach's comeback fund.
Less than 50 minutes after the meeting began, it was over. And business leaders and owners, including Dyer and those from the Mystic Marriott, Wells Fargo, the Mystic Aquarium, Bob Valenti Auto Mall and United Builders Supply had donated $58,500 to the Misquamicut Beach community.
“10,000 dollars. It could be us, we could’ve been slammed,” Jody Dyer of the Flood Tide Restaurant at the Inn at Mystic said after pledging that amount to the Misquamicut Beach Recovery Fund.
Misquamicut is summer. It’s where local kids learn to swim in the ocean; it’s where families spend lazy summer afternoons and where friends gather for parties at night.
It’s also 500 jobs, 102 hotel rooms, 35 timeshares, 400 cottages, and according to Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Konicki it brings $20 million to businesses in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island every year.
“There’s a reason people got invited and the reason is Misquamicut Beach,” Resnikoff said. “A family member is in trouble and we haven’t done anything.”
Hurricane Sandy devastated Misquamicut Beach. It destroyed businesses such as the three-generation family-owned Andrea Hotel, displaced thousands of tons of sand and brought thousands of pounds of debris ashore.
Three . More than 1,200 volunteers have helped 29 businesses and 400 homes. Community members have rallied together to raise $177,000 through Bring Back the Beach concerts, yard sales and donations.
Konicki said Misquamicut would be open by Memorial Day 2013.
“We’ll be open before then, open May 12. It’s started to become a competition between the businesses to see who will get open first,” Konicki said.
Still, Konicki said, it’s a huge task. Some businesses, such as the Andrea, will operate under tents for a year, and many business owners have still not seen any money from their insurance agencies.
“When I first saw the devastation, I said we have to do something,” Resnikoff said.
She invited representatives of the network of tourism-based businesses to the gathering to discuss the devastation at Misquamicut and what to do about it. Resnikoff hoped to surprise Konicki with $20,000, $10,000 from her and $10,000 from the Mystic Aquarium. But then she turned to the room and said, “What about you, are you going to do anything and are you?”
And they responded with donations ranging from $500 to $10,000, and more from Foxwoods Resort and the Mystic Seaport to come.
“I’m so overwhelmed, you have all surprised me,” Resnikoff said.
For more on the Bring Back the Beach Misquamicut Beach Recovery Fund, visit the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce online.