We are about to mark 10 years in about a month since Superstorm Sandy tore through the Jersey Shore and although conditions along the beaches have mostly improved over the years with higher dunes and other work in progress, things are not completely back.
It’s been a 10-year battle for several municipalities who have faced unnecessary red tape trying to rebuild beaches and protect residents, homes, businesses and the way of life in their city and Jersey Shore community. .
Congressman Chris Smith, who represents part of Monmouth County and Ocean County in Washington DC, was able to help secure federal funds in January for those Jersey Shore towns that needed help.
“We’ve been pushing beach replenishment and frankly, the Corps – they’re an incredible organization that does it well – we had meetings on the shore a few months ago, a few months before that, a few months before this – constantly trying to do more work”, Congressman Smith told Townsquare Media News in January. “We were facing a funding crisis with the resupply of beaches from Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet. They (the Army Corps of Engineers) were saying there was no money. I asked them, on the 5th January, by letter and correspondents and conversations to look at the infrastructure bill that had just been passed and which had a whole element of resilience in it, that it would be an excellent source of funding for beach replenishment — a replenishment five years is what we are asking for.”
Congressman Smith said that through bipartisanship Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act there was $30.2 million guaranteed for beach restoration work to be done here in Ocean County and the Jersey Shore.
So, after years and years of researching solutions to combat beach erosion, dunes and marine life, New Jersey municipalities, including here in Ocean County, will undertake restoration work beaches.
The next challenge is to pay the rest of what’s owed, and that’s a very hefty bill handed out to the state and municipalities.
In Ocean County, the Board of Commissioners and 2022 Director John “Jack” Kelly announced that it is an estimated $60 million global project beginning next year, the Corps army engineers paying $30 million of that amount (thanks to Congressman Chris Smith) which would leave $30 million in the state and municipal mailbox.
Commissioner Kelly said Ocean County will pay about $4 million of this bill for municipalities here along the northern barrier island – Berkeley Township, Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Toms River, Lavallette, Brick , Mantoloking, Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach – which are doing work from next year.
“The county has agreed to help the cities pay their share, sharing the $8 million local cost that otherwise would have been paid by just the nine municipalities,” Kelly said in a written statement. “We received a call from the local mayors and they asked us to help them. There was an immediate consensus among the commissioners that we had to help.”
The issue was the focus of a meeting between county commissioners and the aforementioned cities as well as the Borough of Point Pleasant – there for moral support, Commissioner Kelly explained.
It wasn’t just Super Hurricane Sandy that caused damage, there have been several storms of much lesser magnitude that have also rumbled across Ocean County beaches in recent years.
“The beaches and dunes are vital to protecting our cities and our people,” Deputy Director of Ocean County Commissioner Virginia E. “Ginny” Haines said in a written statement. “The Board of Commissioners felt it was right to step in and help our communities bear this cost.”
In this major beach replenishment project, work will be carried out in the above-mentioned cities in different allocations of funds:
Bay Head: $714,000.00.
Township of Berkeley: $159,000.00.
Township of Brick: $450,000.00.
Point Pleasant Beach: $135,500.00.
· Township of Toms River: $975,000.00.
Seaside Heights: $375,000.00.
· Park by the sea: $191,000.00.
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