Ocean County Press Release

TOMS RIVER – The ongoing federal beach replenishment project along the Northern Barrier Island needs to be completed before the start of the summer tourism season, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders said.

The Freeholders sent a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers in support of Seaside Heights, where local officials have expressed a growing concern that delays in the project could push the construction off into the heart of the all-important tourism season.

"As elected officials in a county where tourism is our number one industry, we have serious concerns about the impact of this work on our local businesses and communities," the Freeholders said in a letter to Lt. Col. Kristen Dahle, District Commander for the Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia.

While the Freeholders said they understood that the winter's harsh weather has unavoidably delayed the project, they also asked that the Army Corp do everything possible to avoid dredging off the Seaside Height Boardwalk and beaches during the summer.

"Our seasonal Mom & Pop businesses depend on a short window during the warmer months to survive. Any major work on our ocean beaches would most certainly have a negative effect on our local economy," the Freeholders said in the letter.

Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism, said he has heard concerns from both local officials and business owners along the barrier island.
"Everyone understands that the project is necessary, but they still have serious questions about the impact if this kind of work is done during the height of the tourism season," Vicari said.

Vicari said the county fully supports the need for the beach replenishment work.

"We witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by Super Storm Sandy and understand the beaches and dunes are our first line of defense," the Freeholders said in the letter. "We also appreciate the Army Corps effort to protect our fragile coastline. However, we would ask for your help and assurance that any summer disruptions to our beaches are kept to an absolute minimum."

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