Belmar's business administrator Colleen Connolly is celebrating the completion of the borough's new $10-million boardwalk. 14,000 composite boards, half a million screws and a grueling work schedule for contractors who have just a few things left to do.
"The railings are coming online; we have new lights that are going to go all the way down, all 1.3 miles of it, some curbing work to do. Details," Connolly said.
"Well, it's beautiful. It's much better than it was and I'm pleased because we really miss it," Belmar resident Irene Byrne said.
The work started back in January. FEMA is picking up at least 75% of the cost and finishing in time for Memorial Day was a must.
"It's so important to our economy to have the boardwalk and be able to have people on the beach and the businesses open again," Joan Sullivan of Manchester, New Jersey said.
"Getting the boardwalk back, it's the difference between paying the bills and not paying the bills, quite frankly. We need the boardwalk back. Tourism. We need tourism," Tom Rogers of TR's Food Court said.
Betty Barnett is one of the many people who've been walking next to the new boardwalk while contractors finish the job, impressed that it could be rebuilt so quickly.
"I am surprised, the devastation was just mind-boggling," Barnett said.
"I didn't think it was possible and the fact that they even have Ocean Ave. open now, it just shows when a community works together anything's possible," Brett Jeronimus of Belmar said.
The brand new boardwalk will officially open to the public May 22nd.
By then all the railings and ramps will be completed and ready for the thousands of people who flock here each summer.