Sandy Damage One-Year Later - My9 New Jersey

Sandy Damage One-Year Later

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Ortley Beach, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

The one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy is this week and the devastation is still present in a lot of areas throughout New Jersey. The shore town of Ortley Beach is struggling to rebuild after the storm and sadly, this area is no stranger to weather related hardships.

Residents like Tom Roland lost their homes in Hurricane Floyd and rebuilt only to lose it again in Sandy. Also, Ortley was hit by a devastating tornado in 2010 and then dunes surrounding their boardwalk were basically wiped out in a Nor’easter, making them an easy target for hurricane Sandy destruction.

The town is littered with empty lots, including one lot that the owner decided to turn into a memorial for his deceased parents rather than rebuild.

But there’s one glimmer of hope, the town recently built a new boardwalk and residents in the area are pleased with the new construction.

The town took out a $15 million loan to rebuild the beach and boardwalk, but the problem is that residents are afraid that history will repeat itself. They fear that even a small nor’easter could wipe their new boardwalk out, let alone the damage that another hurricane can do. One resident John Palumbo spoke out about his fears. “You can see the tide line, you can see the difference in color. That’s where the tide reaches like when we had a storm last week, but anything worse than that, it’ll be going over the dunes,” he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers says protective dunes should be about 25 feet high and 75 feet wide and long-time residents of Ortley Beach feel that the 6 foot piles of sand that are supposed to protect their homes won’t do anything and they’re concerned this brand new boardwalk may not be there for long.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t just shore towns that were affected by the wrath of Sandy. The Belleville Reformed Church in North Bergen is another sign that recovery efforts are not exactly complete in New Jersey. The churches steeple and cross at the top of the building have been damaged for close to a year. In fact, the entire exterior of this church is surrounded by yellow tape warning people that it’s unsafe.

It is estimated to cost about $250,000 to fix the damage to this church alone. The church did not have any insurance and while they are eligible for a loan from FEMA it would have to be paid back due to church and state laws that are in place.

This church has a lot of history and even dates back to pre- George Washington where the damaged steeple was used as a look out for British soldiers.

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