Guadagno: 'Get the Hell Back on the Beach'
Lieutenant governor takes tour of Shore to promote Labor Day tourism after hurricane
"Get the hell back on the beach."
Those were the words Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno jokingly gave to the people of New Jersey while taking a tour of the Jersey Shore on Monday.
Days after Gov. Chris Christie told sunbathers to "get the hell off the beach in Asbury Park" as Hurricane Irene barreled up the coast toward the Jersey Shore, his second in command made stops along the state's coast to survey the damage caused by the storm and to encourage tourism this Labor Day Weekend.
Belmar was one of a four-stop helicopter tour of the Jersey Shore which included Atlantic City, Point Pleasant Beach and Asbury Park.
"We're open for business," she said emphatically.
Guadagno met with mayors Michael Ryan of Lake Como and Matt Doherty of Belmar and Lake Como Councilman Marnie McFadden Lee as well as 10th District State Assemblyman Dave Rible and Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley on the beachfront in Belmar at 20th Avenue.
The storm devastation was evident.
Overflown water from Lake Como spread through area streets, and Ocean Avenue was blocked to allow a pipe to the beach which bumped the excess water out of the neighborhood at 3,000 gallons a minute.
Along Ocean Avenue, sand that had blown or been washed onto the street was plowed like snow and piled up on the roadside. Homeowners may have been reminded of the winter months as they shoveled sand from their driveways.
Guadagno and the local elected officials compared notes on the storm preparation and response.
"Our goal," Doherty said, "is to have the beaches up and running by Labor Day Weekend."
He explained that the borough mobilized resident volunteers to take part in the clean-up effort.
Nearly 100 Belmar residents came out to sweep and shovel the boardwalk, which allowed borough public works employees to do work with heavier equipment.
With approximately 20 percent of the town still without power, volunteers also went to the aid of their fellow neighbors, delivering donated supplies including ice, water and milk, to those in need.
"We're a small, little town," he said. "We kind of take care of our own."
Ryan explained that cooperative efforts between Belmar and Lake Como were vital in the storm recovery.
"Matt's been great to work with," he said. "When you work together it makes a real difference."
Doherty also applauded aid provided by Monmouth County.
"Our county was outstanding," Doherty said, noting that immediately following the storm, Belmar became inundated with "hurricane tourists" anxious to see the ocean and the storm damage.
With many power lights out and roads blocked, the Monmouth County Sheriff's Department came to the aid in Belmar, helping to direct traffic.
Guadagno, herself a former Monmouth County sheriff, agreed.
"Shaun Golden is fabulous," she said of the current head of the county sheriff's department.
While the shore attempts to put the pieces back together, Guadagno explained that for the rest of the state, "the event is continuing now."
"There are people up north that are suffering," she said.
Addressing concerns with water quality following stormwater outflow, Guadagno assured residents that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection would be testing water this week to ensure safe swimming for the weekend.