By Lauren Wanko
It’s become a familiar sound in Seaside Heights as contractors race against the clock to rebuild the boardwalk.
“It’s something you kinda take for granted. You walk the boardwalk every single day, then all of a sudden it’s not here, and here we are just about 50 plus days to the season and we’re up here on the boardwalk again,” said Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers.
Contractors in Seaside Heights are reconstructing a three-quarter mile stretch of boardwalk — about 15 blocks long. So far they’ve completed about 50 percent of the project and they expect the entire boardwalk to be completed just before Memorial Day. That’s welcome news to business owners whose shops are right on the boardwalk.
Beachcomber Bar and Restaurant reopened in December. Owner Michael Carbone is ready for a steady stream of summer tourists to come filing in from the new boardwalk.
“This is our livelihood, this is our home. I mean, we have no choice. We have to get everything back and running and back to normal. That’s how we support our families and everything else. I mean everybody has a job. This is what we do for a living,” Carbone said.
Mayor Akers says there are more than 300 businesses in town and about 25 are now open.
“And you say well gee that’s a big discrepancy in the number, but the truth, truth be told, there’s not a lot open this time of year but everybody looks like they’re gonna be on schedule for Memorial Day which is really, really pleasing,” Akers said.
Like Maruca’s Tomato Pies scheduled to open in a couple weeks.
“Collectively as a town we’ll come together and we move forward. It will work, we’ll come back. We’ll be back better than ever,” said Maruca’s Tomato Pie owner Domenic Maruca.
The roller coaster, the haunted house and two other rides are still in the Atlantic Ocean. When will that famous roller coaster be pulled from the water?
“We really wish we had the answer,” said Maria Mastoris of Casino Pier. “We’re hopefully in plans right now to have a company take it out of the ocean, as well as the rest of the rides.”
Mastoris says the water park, go-carts, arcade and some games and children’s rides will be open for Memorial Day. They hope to have half the pier open by the end of the summer.
“Seaside Heights will be open for 2013 season. I would hope that everybody that has enjoyed those seasons past will come and start new memories with us,” Akers said.
Memories, not of Superstorm Sandy’s wrath, but of a Jersey Shore town’s determination to come back stronger.