Rebuilding Of Belmar Boardwalk Gets Underway
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Belmar. January 9, 2013
The rebuilding of one of New Jersey’s most popular boardwalks is now underway.
Pilings are being driven 20 feet deep for the one-and-a-third-mile boardwalk in Belmar. It’s the first major infrastructure project at the Jersey shore since Hurricane Sandy.
Mayor Matt Doherty says seeing it being built will cause residents in the storm- damaged town to start to feel good again.
Belmar has had a boardwalk every year since 1875. It’s part of the character of the town, and our small businesses rely on a boardwalk to draw visitors and tourists. All of our businesses in Belmar are owned by families and small business owners so it’s imperative for them financially to have this boardwalk.”
Doherty says the town abandoned plans to rebuild the boardwalk with strong wood with the Brazilian rain forest.
“Unfortunately there were some out of town out of state interest groups that threated to put an injunction against our project. It would have delayed us weeks and possibly months, and we just could not allow an our of state or out of town group to hold our business owners hostage and hold up this boardwalk.”
People who attended the groundbreaking ceremony say they’re excited the project is underway.
Nick Fuccilli owns La Dolce Vita, a restaurant across the street from the ocean. He says the boardwalk is a big attraction.
“It’s definitely the lifeblood of the town. Everything revolves around being able to come up to the ocean, having the boardwalk, people watch, and spending the afternoon with your family. So we’re looking forward to it.”
Linda Minnella lives across the street from the ocean. She used to run on the boardwalk every day and is looking forward to having it rebuilt.
“It’s very emotional. I run every day so it’s very close to my heart. I literally am on this so it’s been a little rough. I’ve had to run through the streets. I know people lost homes and I have to keep it in perspective, but it still is emotional because I love this place so much.”
Jessica Berger lives three blocks from the ocean and is also looking forward to having the new boardwalk.
“Oh it’s so important. It’s the livelihood of everyone that lives here and everyone that comes here. We rely on this. It’s our home and it’s our solace and it’s our peace.”
Belmar borrowed the money to pay the $6.6 million cost of the new boardwalk and is hoping to get at least 75 percent reimbursed from FEMA.
The project is expected to be completed by the Memorial Day weekend.