Reporting Jenn Bernstein
By Jenn Bernstein
LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J., (CBS) – Driving down the main road on Long Beach Island, you would hardly know almost six months ago, Superstorm Sandy devastated homes and businesses. Now streets are clear, most houses look intact.
New fencing lines wide beaches, and several folks were sprawled out on Long Beach Township’s beaches Wednesday, hoping to enjoy summer-like temperatures.
Roy Wolochow and his family decided to visit for the day from Medford, New Jersey.
“I was amazed,” said Wolochow. “I was really absolutely taken aback that it doesn’t look like anything ever happened here.”
Long Beach Township Mayor Joe Mancini says crews have been working seven days a week to get the island up, running, and ready for the spring and summer seasons.
“It’s back, we’re open,” said Mayor Mancini. “90 percent of our restaurants are open as we speak, by Memorial Day they’ll all be open.”
The Mayor says, by then, 90 percent of homes and all beaches will be ready for visitors.
Worry over scaring off summer tourists, had a group of business owners create the website LBIisalive.com, which keeps people informed about the island’s progress.
Restaurant Owner Stephen DiPietro has been working non-stop to get his four restaurants repaired and open for the tourism season.
In California Grill and Pizza, the water line hit 48 inches during Hurricane Sandy.
“Our last place is Stefano’s Restaurant, and that will be open by next Friday night. I’ll be done then, put the tools away, put the contractors away,” said DiPietro.
The mayor says residence still remain frustrated, half of those who suffered damage, have still not received their flood insurance checks. Many rebuilt using their savings as they wait for FEMA reimbursement.
There are still reminders of Hurricane Sandy, a few homes still have dumpsters outside, and contractors in and out of homes.
Mayor Mancini says the Holgate section of Long Beach Township is still rebuilding.
But Mayor Mancini hopes tourists are not deterred from visiting, reassuring folks LBI is open.
“We’re ready and we want to see everybody back!” said Mayor Mancini.