Home Depot brings help to Sandy-ravaged Seaside Heights

March 19, 2013 4:47:04 AM PDT
The need to restore the shore brought a Home Depot to Seaside Heights.

When it's Home Depot you don't cut a ribbon, you saw through a board!

And so Governor Chris Christie took the first swipe then handed over the power tool at the formal opening of the Home Depot Design Center in storm-battered Seaside Heights.

Residents and contractors who are rebuilding can now order at a showroom at Sumner and Central without going to the mainland.

"We've had two homes on the Barrier Island that were taken down by Sandy, as a result we are rebuilding and this is convenient," George Schmitt of Ortley Beach said.

"Place an order, whatever we sell at Home Depot, and we'll bring it to their site, to their house for them," Bob Striffolino of Home Depot said.

Governor Christie told the crowd he took a helicopter ride along the coast Sunday and while many shore communities are coming back, places like Ortley Beach are still struggling.

"We've made some progress and there's hope, but there's still a heck of a lot of work to do and a lot of suffering and loss that are out there," Christie said.

Seaside Heights is making great strides rebuilding its mile long boardwalk that was destroyed in the storm. Crews are working seven days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day to get it done.

"The piling schedule is ahead of schedule and with the amount of crews they have on here, once they get so far down the boardwalk they'll put a second crew on," project inspector Steve McCutcheon said.

"This is like amazing that it's going so quickly and that it will probably be done in time; this is like our second home," Kayleigh Feder of Hillsborough, New Jersey said.

"Part of our lifeline here. Right now, all we got is the construction workers, as soon as they get done we'll have the tourists come back and they'll walk the beaches and boardwalk," Beachcomber Bar owner Michael Carbone said.

The target date for completion of the boardwalk is May 10.

Officials say having it back will be a major milestone economically and psychologically in the recovery here at the shore.