Stronger Than the Storm New Jersey's Shore Towns Prepare to Rebuild

 The feel of the sand and the sun; the smell of sunscreen, and the view from the  boardwalk carry a huge importance for New Jerseyans and the Garden State's  economy. Last year's Superstorm Sandy almost completely destroyed many of the  seaside towns, demolishing boardwalks and amusement parks, flooding homes and  businesses. The damage was historic, and many feared that over a century of  summer traditions would not be back for the following summer. Thanks to federal  assistance and rebuilding efforts, those fears have not been realized. All in  all, The Jersey Shore has rebounded from the destruction, and New Jerseyans are  appreciating the beaches this year more than they likely have in years.  

 Rebirth for The Shore

 Memorial Day marked the official reopening of The Shore after the devastation it  experienced post Superstorm Sandy—an estimated $37 billion. The Shore boardwalks and the rides, restaurants and  shops that make them world-famous were totaled, destroying a tourist attraction  that rakes in roughly $24 billion a year. The Shore, while not completely back  at full force (Gov. Chris Christie says 80 percent has been restored), is ready  to entertain millions this summer.  

 The state of New Jersey saw a tremendous amount of rebuilding take place over  the last six months, the vast majority of it from federal aid. While several  federal agencies have poured millions of dollars into repairing roads, and  other crucial infrastructure, federal assistance to private homeowners and  businesses also played a large role in recovery. So far, as of late June, the  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $556 million  in recovery funds to shore towns. FEMA recently awarded more than $10 million  in Public Assistance grants to Seaside Heights and Spring Lake municipalities  to go toward boardwalk repairs. And to the relief of Shore business owners,  FEMA announced on June 26th that it will cover 90 percent of recovery and  rebuilding costs.  

 But federal dollars are not the only source for the New Jersey coast's  reconstruction. In order to put the Shore back on the map, New Jersey Transit  added express summer rail service to The Shore on June 2 in an effort to make  the commute to the shore towns easier. Four weekend express trains are now  running between New York Penn Station and Long Branch.  

 A great deal of federal relief went to large public projects like the boardwalk,  but relief efforts to rebuild the residential side of The Shore and the rest of  New Jersey have also been substantial. As of June 14, $400.5 million in FEMA  grants were approved for individuals and households. The National Flood  Insurance Program made $3.5 billion in payments on claims as of June 17. Nearly  262,000 people contacted FEMA for help.  


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  • For a newsletter that's supposed to address New Jersey condos, your coverage of Sandy and its aftermath has been minimal. There are many condo developments at the shore, and many of those condos sustained substantial damage from the storm. These shore condos have some year-round residents (about a third in ours), but many of the units are second homes to the owners. What relief was available to the year-round owners, to the second-home owners, to renters, to the associations? What is the prospect for insurability when the association policies and the HO-6 policies of the individual owners come due? Aren't there representative stories you can report? What is typically being done to repair the damage to infrastructure, to pool areas, to landscaping, to attached marinas? Are storm assessments the rule? Loans? Are the associations proceeding to make repairs prior to receipt of insurance proceeds? What is the prospect for timely settlement of flood and wind claims? I've given you enough questions to fill the next several issues. We at the shore look to your publication to broaden its scope beyond what appears to be a strong bias toward North Jersey bedroom communities.