After all the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it was hard a few months ago to imagine a summer tourism season at some of the hard-hit towns along the Jersey Shore.
But the mayor of one town says this first post-Sandy season could end up being a banner year.
All the pilings and much of the decking on a replacement boardwalk are in place in Belmar, and Mayor Matt Doherty expects the finishing touches will be completed by Memorial Day.
“Our summer rentals are all booked. I know a lot of the B&Bs, the bed and breakfasts, are doing well. So we anticipate a very busy summer season,” Doherty said Tuesday. “One way we can actually quantify that is our beach badge sales for this coming season are up 40 percent year to date over 2012.”
Doherty says many people in the region have an emotional attachment to the Jersey Shore and want to show up to be part of the recovery from Sandy.
“You can see incredible generosity and excitement in middle-class families in New Jersey for what towns went though during Sandy. They want to be part of the story of this recovery and rebuilding,” he said.
If the weather cooperates, Doherty says, 2013 could be one of the Jersey Shore’s best summer seasons.