By Jenn Bernstein
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBS) – A blue ribbon spread over five miles of the New Jersey Coastline Friday morning was a symbolic show of a new start for the residents and business owners who’ve had to endure and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy tore through the shoreline.
In Seaside Heights, Governor Chris Christie cut the ribbon and declared the Jersey Shore is open for the summer season.
The Governor strolled through crowds of residents and visitors on this opening day, more than six months after Sandy.
It was also an emotional moment for Angela Papoutsakis who tearfully hugged Governor Christie, to say thank you.
She says she asked him for help with her business, George’s Pizza, when she saw him during a recent visit to Lavallette.
Governor Christie’s office called her the next day, and got her the aid she needed.
George’s Pizza opened this Friday.
“We were ready to give up last week because we didn’t have hope, but now we have hope, we see the light,” said Papoutsakis.
While the boardwalk is back, many residents still remain paralyzed, waiting for insurance money or facing the tough reality of new federal flood maps.
We sat down one-on-one with the governor during his next stop in Point Pleasant Beach and asked him if New Jersey was where he wanted it to be by Memorial Day Weekend.
“I think we’ve made some really great progress but until folks are back in their homes it’s not going to be where I want it to be,” said Governor Christie, “I’ve said right from the beginning the homes and getting everyone back where they were before is going to be a year to two year proposition, I know that doesn’t help you if you’ve been out of your home for seven months and you are thinking, ‘I don’t care when someone else is going to get back in their home, when am I going to get back in?’ I get that, we’re doing as best we can to help people, but in the end, this is going to be a joint effort between the homeowners and the government to try to make this work the right way.”
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