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First Efforts Into Rebuilding Belmar Boardwalk Made Wednesday

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By Robin Rieger

BELMAR, NJ (CBS) – The beach in Belmar, NJ took another pounding today, but it was different than what Superstorm Sandy delivered. A 25-foot piling for the new $6.6 million boardwalk was installed Wednesday after Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Matt Doherty pulled the lever.

“Your town is now, for the most part, cleaned up, and we’re ready to turn the corner now to restoring it,” Gov. Christie said.

He also thanked locals for their positive outlook.

Mayor Doherty recently returned from a trip to Mississippi, where he says officials who survived Katrina told him that Wednesday’s milestone would strengthen his community.

“To show people there’s progress, there’s hope, and things will get better,” Doherty said.

The new boardwalk must be complete by the April 30th deadline for the builder to get a $100,000 bonus. If not, he will be penalized $7,500 per day for each day that passes the deadline.

The governor says he is positive that the federal Sandy aid package will be passed, bringing the funds needed to rebuild damaged areas, but added, “I’ll have plenty of time to think about it if I don’t get what I want. I’m not going to worry about it at the moment.”

While Christie’s no-nonsense style has been nationally recognized and sometimes criticized, his efforts post-Sandy put him on the cover of the new issue of Time magazine.

Christie poked fun at the picture, joking that, “I look like Tony Soprano, for God’s sake. Worse yet, I’m just starting to develop a relationship with Bruce, and the title they put under my picture on the cover of Time magazine this week? ‘The Boss.’ I’m going to go all the way to the back of the line again, it’s terrible.”

Hopefully, the governor will enjoy the new boardwalk in Belmar, where he plans to spend Memorial Day. Officials expect it to be up and running by the holiday.

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