Belmar Moves From Rescue To Recovery After Frankenstorm [AUDIO]
A Monmouth County community transitions into recovery after sending water rescue teams to retrieve dozens of residents from the second floors of their flooded homes.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says, “We had families that were on the second floor of their home and our water rescue team would have to go there, swim there, paddle there, take a boat there, jet ski, to go get them and bring em to a shelter here at borough hall.”
He says they don’t have a count on the exact number of homes flooded but he says for a small town like theirs it’s devastating.
The flood water brought in by the hurricane’s surge has also been slow to recede.
“So now we’re transitioning away from the rescuing and into recovery and that includes pumping the water back into the Atlantic Ocean.” It’s a process that began Wednesday.
The storm also destroyed its newly renovated boardwalk from 10th Avenue south.
“Little by little, we’ve been moving away from the wood boardwalk on to the type of Trex boardwalk, which is a composite, which is more friendly for families and to think that we just finished that back in May and now come the end of October the entire thing is gone … you know, it’s frustrating to say the least.”
However, he says they are committed to having the boardwalk rebuilt in time for the 2013 Summer Tourism Season.
Doherty says they’ve received a tremendous amount of inquiries from people about how they can help but he says right now they have large equipment moving hurricane strewn debris in the streets. He says that makes it difficult to have a large number of volunteers out in the community but he says people who’d like to help can make a donation toward its recovery efforts. He says they’ve set up a Paypal account on it’s municipal web page Belmar.com.
Belmar led a social media campaign last year to win the New Jersey Best Beach designation as part of the Top Ten Beaches Contest hosted by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and placed fourth in the state. The renovated boardwalk, installation of the most beach playgrounds and hiring seasonal employees that focus on cleaning beach bathrooms were all a part of efforts to make the borough a premiere family beach destination.
They also celebrated the grand opening this summer of a new restaurant at its 9th Avenue Marina as part of a public/private partnership this summer.