Belmar's summer tourism hopes take an upturn with today's driving of the final pilings for its new mile-long boardwalk, just about two months to the day that Mayor Matt Doherty and Governor Christie hammered the first one into the sand.

Completed Pilings for New Belmar Boardwalk (Colleen Connolly)

Borough officials are calling it a major milestone in recovery from Hurricane Sandy. This is a great day in the rebuilding of our boardwalk and in the recovery of our town.” said Doherty in a prepared statement. “Belmar is on track to be back stronger than ever for Memorial Day.”

Doherty and the Governor donned hardhats for the ceremonial start of construction January 9. Since then, EPIC Construction has driven 2,886 earthward as crews try to meet an April 30 target completion date. Officials want the walk open by Memorial Day weekend.

Belmar Boardwalk Support Girders (Colleen Connolly)

Borough officials estimate that shops and restaurants throughout the community attract about 70 percent of their year-round business during the summer months.