News Article

Shore Residents Still Rebuilding As Boardwalks Open

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Belmar. May 22, 2013

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Belmar homeowners still repairing Sandy damage (photo by Phil Gregory)

While Governor Christie attended ceremonies marking the opening of the rebuilt boardwalk in Belmar, many residents who live nearby are still trying to recover from the storm damage.

Vasilia Loucopoulos lives just a couple of blocks from the beach. Sandy flooded her basement and ruined her furnace and hot water heater. She’s not upset that the focus is on boardwalk re-openings while homeowners are still trying to rebuild.

 “We’re just very pleased to see there’s some recovery in the town because that helps us to see some hope and some life back into the town.”

Some residents are frustrated by the amount of time it’s taking to get insurance money and grants to restore their homes.

Sister Cathy Nace is the principal at St. Rose High School in Belmar. She’s still concerned about the six million dollars of damage the storm surge caused to the school complex, but she is happy the boardwalk has been restored.

“It is a delicate balance to try and make sure that families and homes are being rebuilt. Certainly the school is waiting on FEMA assistance as well, but we know that the boardwalk is essential to the community and its overall health in the long term.”

Governor Christie says it’s important to restore the tourism industry now, and believes the rebuilt boardwalks will give residents hope and encouragement that the recovery from Sandy is progressing.

  “While I have sympathy for the folks who are still not in their homes, we always said that that was going to be a year to two year process. To destroy those homes and to rebuild them was going to take a long time. That’s the last thing that will get done in this process.”

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