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Raise Whole Downtown In Highlands? Many Concerned About Cost

A Seastreak Ferry passes the Highlands Bridge (credit: Borough of Highlands)

A Seastreak Ferry passes the Highlands Bridge (credit: Borough of Highlands)

Superstorm Sandy

HIGHLANDS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Sandy-ravaged community of Highlands, N.J., continues to look at the possibility of raising its entire downtown – but many have been wondering where the money will come from.

As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, even when there is not a hurricane, the lower section of Highlands floods, and already, residents have been told they must elevated their homes.

But recently, some have raised a unique idea – if the homes are elevated, why not backfill them and raise the entire downtown.

But many are dubious.

“Who’s going to be able to afford it?” said one resident, John. “That’s the whole problem.”

Many have asked who would pay for the $25 million project. The Army Corps of Engineers has been reviewing the proposal.

Superstorm Sandy destroyed or severely damaged 1,200 of the 1,500 homes in the borough of Highlands.

In support of the proposal to raise the downtown, Mayor Frank Nolan said last month that he wants to ensure Highlands isn’t wiped entirely off the map.

“Most of the world has no idea what we are going through,” said zoning board member Art Gallagher in January.

Most of the 1.4-square-mile borough on Monmouth County’s bay shore is below sea level, and is fighting for its very existence.

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