By Liz Sheehan |
MONMOUTH BEACH – If all goes as planned, residents will receive additional protection from ocean flooding by next spring, thanks to a seawall project.
Construction on the 675-foot gap in the wall between Valentine Street and the existing wall on the south side of the Monmouth Beach Bathing Pavilion is set to begin after work is completed on filling in a gap in Sea Bright’s seawall.
The bathing pavilion was badly damaged by Super Storm Sandy in 2012, as were many homes and businesses in the area.
But the new 18-foot high seawall means extensive changes for the pavilion. Its height means the beach and ocean will no longer be visible from the pavilion’s deck areas. The ramps and stairs now in place will also be blocked and no longer useful for accessing the waterfront.
Concept plans for the project now call for an addition to the pavilion that will include new decks to the east of the existing building that will be raised to the height of the new seawall.
Both the seawall and the expansion of the pavilion’s decks will be in the dune area now planted with seagrass and rosa rugosa that separates the pavilion from the beach and is protected by a snow fence.
There will be new stairs crossing the seawall in the pavilion’s parking lot north of the building and from the deck of the pavilion. There will also be a new ramp at the south section of the new portion the building.
The current ramp in the south portion of the pavilion’s parking lot will remain. That ramp is used both by those going to the pavilion with either seasonal memberships or day passes, or to the free beach just south of the pavilion beach.
Mayor Sue Howard said Tuesday the borough will not be paying for the wall, but will be paying for the changes to the bathing pavilion, which is owned by the town. She said there has been no estimate yet on the cost of the pavilion project.
The new seawall, and repairs of the existing seawall in the town, are part of a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Federal Emergency Management Agency Project (FEMA) project. It includes the construction of a 1,000-foot seawall on the ocean side of downtown Sea Bright and patching the existing seawall in both towns. The cost of the project was estimated by the NJDEP at $28 million in 2014, with the NJDEP contributing $8.5 million.
Construction was delayed because of a lawsuit filed by a bidder on the work, but the matter was resolved in court in April.
The bathing pavilion at 29 Ocean Ave., a beach and pool club, is owned by the town but is open to members from outside of Monmouth Beach. Seasonal memberships for nonresidents, which include use of the pool, are not currently available but there is a waiting list. Both seasonal beach memberships for $75, and daily passes for $9, are available to the public. They include use of the pavilion but not the pool.
In 1997, a 920-foot seawall was constructed from the south side of the bathing pavilion to the Long Branch border, using a $1 million federal grant.
Some members of the beach club who were there on a windy Monday said they realized the changes were necessary to give more protection to the town from flooding.
“It will help somewhat,” Melissa Haring, of Oceanport, said.
“They absolutely need it,” Mary Eileen Kelly, a borough resident, added.
This article was first published in the Aug. 31-Sept. 7, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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