Belmar Boardwalk Reopens [VIDEO]
Governor Chris Christie (R) and New Jersey U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D) joined local officials for a ribbon-cutting celebration on Wednesday that marked the official reopening of Belmar's 1.3 mile boardwalk.
Close to seven months ago, Belmar joined a long list of Jersey shore towns destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. This week, the same towns are making last-minute upgrades to prepare for visitors over Memorial Day Weekend.
"We promised that a new boardwalk would be built in time for Memorial Day, and today, I can proudly say that we have delivered," said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty, noting the project began before federal aid dollars were approved in Washington, D.C.
"A boardwalk is a part of the character of this town," Doherty added. "It's also vital to our economy, as we have about 140 small businesses that rely on tourist dollars every summer."
Doherty acknowledged the numerous families still displaced because of the storm and said the town will not rest until every person is back where they belong.
The Monmouth County community was Governor Christie's first stop after the storm.
"Things that weren't completely gone and washed down the street were in tatters," Christie recounted. "We're back, Belmar is back, the boardwalk is back, and summer is back in New Jersey, right here in Belmar."
Christie will be visiting boardwalks all along the shore this week and weekend, in hopes of delivering a message across the country that "a summer in New Jersey will still happen."