It took Superstorm Sandy a couple of hours to totally wipe out the Seaside Heights Boardwalk. Now, Borough officials have started the rebuilding process.

Mark Wilson, Getty Images
Mark Wilson, Getty Images

In less than three months time, the one-mile long walkway will rise again out of the rubble. But the big question on everyone's mind: will it ever be the same? Can it ever recapture the charm of the old one?

Bigger, stronger and better than ever. That's how Mayor Bill Akers describes the new structure, now under construction. Crews are working virtually 'round the clock to make sure they meet their May 10th deadline.

While new hurricane proofing and other storm protections will be in place, Akers tells us they are using the same kind of old school boardwalk theme. He says, "There will be the claw machine, the rides, the games, the prizes and all the food. That's not going away. We are resilient and so are the businesses here. We all want to get back to the way it was."

The protections being discussed now include the construction of a 16 to 18 foot high sea wall to prevent more erosion and flooding. Seaside Heights took a major hit during the storm both on the coast and more inland.

During the start of construction last week, many of the people we spoke with tell us they have high hopes and are keeping an open mind.

One man tells us, "Even though it won't be exactly the same, my family and I are confident they will get the feeling back. This is a wonderful opportunity."

Another woman said, "I felt like my heart broke right after the storm, seeing what it did to my favorite place on the shore. Now I feel like it's being healed."

But not everyone is convinced. Some of the people who talked to us were very upset. While they are happy the boardwalk is getting rebuilt, they feel it will never be the same, no matter what anyone does.

This one woman tells us, "The storm was devastating. It ruined so much. Years of memories and places are gone and will never be back. All I have is my memories as a child now. This is so sad and I don't know how to deal with it."

Another man explained, "No matter how they dress it up, they won't be able to capture the way it was. Now it's just a memory." Another woman says "there will be something lacking thanks to Mother Nature."


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