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New Jersey To Use Hurricane Sandy Money For Boardwalk Fire Cleanup

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey will use Superstorm Sandy-recovery money to pay for debris removal at the scene of last week’s boardwalk fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights.

Gov. Chris Christie’s administration said it hopes the extra aid will speed the rebuilding. Dozens of businesses were destroyed in the blaze on a boardwalk that had only recently been repaired from damage it sustained in Sandy.

“We’re moving as swiftly and aggressively as we can to help these communities and their boardwalk businesses rebuild from this unfortunate stumbling block to our overall Sandy recovery,” Christie said.

Christie called the damage to some existing structures a safety hazard that needed to be addressed quickly. He said that covering the cost of debris removal would allow governments and businesses to “get down to work immediately to restore one of the Jersey Shore’s most iconic boardwalks.”

The funding will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority through an existing Superstorm Sandy block grant program.

“The extensive damage caused by Thursday’s fire has made the Seaside community’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy all the more difficult,” said Richard Constable, the state community affairs commissioner. He said his staff will work with local officials to determine which fire-damaged buildings are unsafe and need to be torn down.

State officials will be on hand Monday afternoon to offer assistance to businesses and residents affected by Thursday’s fire, which destroyed four blocks of boardwalk businesses. Representatives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and other agencies will provide information at the Seaside Heights Municipal Complex.

Over the weekend Christie also pledged $15 million in state aid to the burned businesses, also using Sandy recovery money.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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