The Belmar boardwalk will see an upgrade to its ability to weather major storms, but otherwise the borough is planning to rebuild its major tourism destination very similar to its pre-Sandy look.
Destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the Belmar boardwalk will be rebuilt in a $20 million project that will use current codes — an upgrade from the 1970s-90s building codes when pilings were 12 feet. The new boardwalk will be built with 25 foot pilings and be banded underneath with hurricane straps, but will otherwise be the same length, width and height.
Mayor and council said the plans were drafted nearly identically to the old boardwalk not just because FEMA reimburses projects that rebuild "as it was" but because they didn't want to tamper with creating a boardwalk that didn't feel like it was Belmar's.
For example, Councilwoman Claire Deicke mentioned that in hurricane-ravaged New York, officials there were considering concrete boardwalks. It wasn't right for Belmar, as it was such a drastic change from the boardwalk experience Belmar residents and visitors are familiar with, she said.
Instead, the Belmar boardwalk will be rebuilt with boards of a synthetic material — not wood. Possibly a Truex brand, the boards come in several colors that the borough is choosing from.
The full plans of the boardwalk, as well as sample boards, were on display in Monday's council meeting and afterward were posted in the town hall lobby. Check out the gallery of images on this article for some of the drawings.
Mayor and council are working aggressively to open the boardwalk for Memorial Day 2013, but Mayor Matt Doherty said in a presentation Monday the concession stands may not be ready and could possibly operate out of trailers that first summer.
The $20 million bond approved Monday pays for $17 million in boardwalk rebuilding, and $3 million in debris removal of the old boardwalk.
For the latest Hurricane Sandy coverage from Manasquan-Belmar Patch visit our topic page here.