Mystic Island recovers 2 years after Sandy

MYSTIC ISLAND, N.J. (WPVI) -- On any street in Mystic Island you can hear workmen hammering. It's the sound of progress.

When Sandy hit 2 years ago the bay front section of Little Egg Harbor was 7 feet underwater. Over 4,000 homes were damaged.

"We're well over 50% of the rebuilding of the substantially damaged homes, so we are doing pretty well," business administrator Mike Fromosky said.

"Everybody's talking about how good things look because we have homes going up and that's really great. But the reality is you look around and there're more homes that still aren't done." Resident Lisa Stevens said.

Empty lots and abandoned homes still dot the landscape in Mystic Island.

Some residents like Bill Moody live in campers on their property while their homes are raised and rebuilt.

"I have heat and air conditioning and cooking facilities and everything else in there so it's really ideal," Moody said.

"It was a struggle. I had to be out of my house for a year," Ann DiVito said.

Like many residents, Valerie Buffalino, the single mother of 14-month-old Eddie, is exhausted. Two years fighting with FEMA and insurance companies has taken its toll.

"I've had to get three jobs, support him, I'm on my own and my mom's been staying with me cause her house got destroyed, too. The emotional distress is hard just like on the whole family," Buffalino said.

"Getting back to normal is hard. We are working on it daily and we are getting there, but it's going to take some more time," Little Egg Harbor Mayor Art Midgley

And while abandoned lots it clear that there's still plenty of work to do, the shore continues its recovery, slowly.
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