Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association To Make Third Try For FEMA Aid
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association announces it will file for federal disaster relief a third time.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency twice denied the Neptune non-profit over $1million dollars in aid to help restore the local boardwalk citing its religious affiliation according to the Asbury Park Press.
The Association's website proclaims they are "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore."
Ralph Del Campo, interim chief operating officer for the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, tells the newspaper he is in the process of filling out the application and expects to hear from FEMA by Thanksgiving.
In a statement on their website, Del Campo says, “Ocean Grove is the only community on the entire Jersey Shore that has not received FEMA funding, and we believe that the right decision will still be made and funding will ultimately be obtained from FEMA."
Del Campo points to the fact that the Camp Association operates the beach in Neptune Township and "maintains the beach in Neptune Township and provides the same related municipal services on behalf of Neptune that every other shore community does: life-saving emergency benefits including lifeguards; complete public beach access; and a public thoroughfare that supports emergency services and enables connections to other communities.”
OGCMA President Dr. Dale C. Whilden added: “In 1908, the State of New Jersey declared the boardwalk in Ocean Grove to be a public thoroughfare, and it is also part of the interconnectivity of the economic engine of the Jersey Shore. The boardwalk is an absolutely critical asset to the viability of the Ocean Grove business community and our community residents.”
They say they have the backing of Neptune Township Mayor Eric Houghtaling, NJ State Senator Jennifer Beck, US Senator Robert Menendez, US Congressman Chris Smith, and Governor Chris Christie.
The Asbury Park Press. reports the estimated cost to fix the Ocean Grove attraction is around $3 million.