By Pat Ciarrocchi

MANTOLOKING, N.J. (CBS) – Before Superstorm Sandy roared ashore on October 29, 2012, a two-story, cedar shake house – owned by the same family for decades – had a perfect view of Barnegat Bay in Mantoloking.

When the wind and rain stopped, that house was 200 feet from its foundation, and in the middle of the bay.

Today, demolition began on the home that’s become an iconic reminder of the devastating storm.

With that, government leaders gathered at a shoreline news conference to recommit to getting the debris out of the water, so the summer season can be safe on the waterways and on the beaches.

“Phase two of the recovery of the state is now underway. We are now rebuilding for the long term,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Bob Martin.

The financial commitment is over a billion dollars just to rebuild the coastline.

When Sandy made landfall with such ferocity, Mantoloking was the leading edge of destruction.

About 60 homes were pulled into the storm surge. When you look at the outline of foundations and yards, neighborhoods look more like skeletons of shore life from last summer.

“It’s just a bummer,’ said Martha Graff, who grew up next to the house now in the water. “[There’s] nothing that anybody could have done. The storm came through and [there’s] nothing that anybody could have done. ”

Now using side-scan sonar, wet debris is being identified. 30,000 cubic yards have been removed since March.

Demolishing the house is a big, two day job. A yellow boom is wrapped around the house to keep debris from breaking loose.

Buddy Young of the Alabama-based firm Crowdergulf is in charge of the project.

“Most of the house is underwater, ” said Young. “Not sure whether the lower story is on the house.”

Young suspects the first floor could be buried in sand, below the water.

Martha Graff, who took her 11-year-old son out of school to see today’s demolition in the water, is optimistic about the summer of 2013.

“If we can get everything out of the bay and clean the debris, we can get these kids who love the bay back in it, and using it and get back to good old Jersey Shore stuff,” she said.

That’s the hope of everyone from Governor Chris Christie to the ice cream man on the beach.

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