Mayor Promised To Have 1.3-Mile Walkway Ready By Memorial Day Weekend

BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Another summer favorite is back in a Jersey shore town that continues to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.

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Governor Chris Christie was on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday for the brand new Belmar boardwalk, which was destroyed by the Oct. 29 storm.

“The biggest reason that I want to come and open these boardwalks is because I want New Jersey and the region and the country to know that New Jersey has come back,” Christie said.

Belmar was the first shore town Christie visited after Sandy hit.

“Look how far we’ve come. That whole time we were in the dark and the cold,” Belmar resident Carole Brandi told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Brandi was interviewed by CBS 2 as she evacuated during Sandy and was among the hundreds who came to the beach Wednesday for the big celebration.

“I live in Belmar and I survived Hurricane Sandy, so I’m so excited Belmar is open,” resident Samantha Heil told Sloan.

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In the days after the storm, Mayor Matt Doherty promised to have the 1.3-mile boardwalk ready by Memorial Day weekend. Nearly seven months after Sandy and $8 million later, he has delivered on that promise.

“We had a tremendous amount of water in town. It took us over six days to get the water out,” Doherty said. “We had pieces of boardwalk pushed in six city blocks that had to get removed.”

Some of the debris inundated Chris Brandl’s business, Jake’s Crab Shack. He’s back in business in a rented trailer.

“The community has all come together to make this come to life,” Brandl told Sloan. “It’s amazing.”

Construction of a new boardwalk began in January, even before the federal aid came in. The work required the replacement of 14,000 boards, 2,800 pilings and 500,000 screws.

The boardwalk is the lifeblood of the town’s economy. The town has 140 businesses and Doherty had said 99 percent of them would be ready for Memorial Day weekend.

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