Sandy aftermath: It will take time to clean up in Belmar

While some southern Jersey shore towns are sending the signal that they are open for business, more of their counterparts from the north will need more time to recover from battering delivered by Superstorm Sandy two weeks ago.

One such town, Belmar, saw its whole boardwalk smashed to pieces, which are now piled high along Ocean Avenue. Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty has promised to have the boardwalk rebuilt by Memorial Day 2013.

When NewsWorks visited Belmar Saturday, the streets closest to the ocean were visible finally. For two days following the storm, they were flooded. When the water receded, those streets were covered several inches deep in sand.

But the biggest concern to most Belmar residents now is their lack of electricity.

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George Szanto said he hasn’t had power in his Belmar home since Sandy gusted through. Temperatures have dropped into the 30s along the shore and the first snow of the season arrived unusually early last week.

Despite his own hardships, Szanto was volunteering at the food relief station in front of Borough Hall over the weekend. The food all has been donated.

Inside the hall, residents affected by the storm can pick up free household supplies that also have been donated in abundance. Due to what they call “overwhelming generosity,” the town’s website posted a notice Sunday saying that they have reached their limit on accepting material donations for the Hurricane Sandy effort.

Meanwhile, Ocean Avenue remains closed to the public. The area now resembles a construction zone with excavators and wheeled front loaders pushing huge chunks of broken wood into piles before they can be hauled away by dump trucks.

Further away from the sea, residents could be seen Saturday throwing away water-damaged furniture, mattresses and toys. The sound of portable generators and water pumps drowned out the ocean waves. Hopefully, the power will be on soon and, barring any more destructive storms, this shore town will be ready for business this spring.

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