Sandy Cleanup Providing Jobs For The Unemployed [AUDIO]
More than 700 unemployed New Jersey residents have been placed in jobs related to recovery from Superstorm Sandy, thanks to a special grant secured by the state just days after Sandy hit. The $15.6 million National Emergency Grant from the federal government was approved for city streets and public properties across 16 hurricane-ravaged counties.
The Christie Administration announced Monday that a small segment of the program's workers are solely devoted to cleaning and rebuilding New Jersey's state parks. Nearly 35 workers are working at seven state parks, with additional hirings expected in the near future.
"Our long-range goal is to make these parks much more resilient," said Department of Environmental Protection State Parks Director Mark Texel at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, which has not yet fully reopened to the public.
Officials said there is still plenty of cleanup, repair and reconstruction work to be done around the Park System, including restoration of dunes at Island Beach State Park and the clearing of trails at many of the state's northern parks. The state wants all parks fully functional by Memorial Day Weekend.
"This National Emergency Grant already has gone far toward helping many counties and towns get a handle on repairing their communities," said Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths. "It just makes you feel so good to be able to get these people back to work."
Wirths said the job placement gives people the chance to network and, potentially, find their way into permanent positions. He expressed optimism that the state could receive additional funding for a similar work grant, if requested.