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Belmar looks to up beach badge fees to help pay $20 million for new boardwalk

belmarboardwalk120412_optBY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Mayor Matthew Doherty says Belmar’s boardwalk was always integral to its identity, and he wants to get rebuilding underway quickly. But it’s going to cost beach visitors.

Remember the legislation from Senator Michael J. Doherty and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney that would require municipalities accepting state or federal aid for Hurricane Sandy repairs to allow free beach access to the public?

According to an Associated Press report on sfgate.com, Belmar will help pay for its boardwalk repairs by upping beach badge fees from $7 to $8 for a day, and from $50 to $55 for season passes. The community approved a $20 million plan for boardwalk repairs on Monday.

MoreMonmouthMusings reported that along with a large bond, the Belmar plan includes financial penalties for missing completion dates, and financial incentives to finish the boardwalk ahead of schedule. The town expects to have 75 percent of its costs reimbursed by FEMA.

Governor Chris Christie said, “Most of us who’ve lived in New Jersey long enough have or will walk that boardwalk at one time or another. I am fully supportive and encouraging of Mayor Doherty’s efforts to rebuild, and we will continue to work with him.”

The new boardwalk will be built in the same place, but the new structure will require an upgrade in pilings to rebuild it up to current building codes. Belmar is considering building a steel sea wall with sand dune along the coast to help contain possible future storm damage.

The sea wall and the beach tag price increases will be voted on at a later date.

Doherty said Belmar has had a boardwalk since 1895. “For the sake of the town, it needs to have one for Memorial Day 2013,” he said, according to Manasquan-Belmar Patch. "If you lose a customer for a year, you might as well write them off."

 

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