The following is a message from Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider:
Sandy is still the number one topic of conversation around town. Six months after New Jersey got whacked upside our collective heads, many of us are still in recovery mode. But Memorial Day weekend is six weeks away, crowds are anticipated, and we need to be ready.
From Sandy Hook to southern Ocean County, every town is scrambling for what we all hope will be the usual throng of people from North Jersey and New York that clog our roads, eat in restaurants, spend in our stores, buy beach passes, and otherwise boost our local economy. We need them to come, maybe this summer more than ever.
Beach access came up at the last council meeting in February for the first time and every meeting since. Occasionally, the question is prefaced with the accusation that we only care about Pier Village.
The reality is that Pier Village was constructed to withstand the 500-year storm so there wasn’t much damage. There was sand all over the place, and some of the stairs were undermined, but the new construction withstood the storm quite well and did not need significant repair.
Our goal now is to re-build everything south of Pier Village to Brighton Avenue once and do it right. There’s no sense in constructing a bluff, boardwalk, and road that could get wiped out again in a storm the same strength as Sandy. We’re developing design plans and working with FEMA right now to fund the project. I’ll keep everyone posted as we make progress.
As for summer beach access we’re hoping to get lucky in West End. DPW was down there last week and enough sand has come back that we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll have a decent set of stairs, working bathrooms, and a shower close to Brighton Avenue. We just might have as many access points as last year. Lifeguards will patrol the same beaches as last summer. Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t have any more storms between now and Memorial Day.
Under the heading that timing is everything, we’ve also decided to hold off on parking meters until next year. The council and I want to make a summer day in Long Branch as easy as possible.