By David Madden
LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J. (CBS) — Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the carnage wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Towns along the Jersey shore continue to cope, including Long Beach Island, one of the harder hit areas.
From a business standpoint, there are few complaints. Then again, getting them back up for the summer season was a top priority. Lori Pepenella with the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce says, all things being equal, they did just fine. As for the people who live on the island…
“There’s certainly a lot of people planning for the future,” Pepenella said, “when they’re going to rebuild, how they’re going to protect for the next storm.”
Towns are still waiting on FEMA reimbursements — a million dollars in Ship Bottom, where Mayor William Huelsenbeck is working with residents wanting to lift their homes to meet new flood codes set by the federal government.
“Our land use board has seen maybe a hundred applicants coming in,” said Huelsenbeck, “because not only do they want to raise, they want to add on to their house.”
And those codes are not set in stone just yet.
Beach Haven also had a pretty good summer. That’s because all the effort went into cleaning up and making sure tourist needs were taken care of. The town itself is still very much in recovery mode.
“My water pumping station was destroyed,” said Borough Manager Richard Crane. “My public works garage was destroyed. My life guard headquarters were destroyed.”
And Crane is working out of a makeshift city hall blocks from the one which was flooded out. They’re asking for $6 million from FEMA. They’ve gotten the promise of about a quarter of that. The promise, mind you is not a check. They’ve taken out a loan to get work started in November on everything but City Hall to have that complete by next Memorial Day. And if the federal government doesn’t come through, taxpayers will get the bill.