All of Toms River's oceanfront beaches will be open in 2014, officials have announced.
"Last year we did have the three blocks open, but this year we want to have the entire beach open," said Council President Maria Maruca. "We’re going to be ready for business, and hopefully as many people will be back home as possible."
The township's Ortley Beach section is frequently cited as the area hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 statewide. The neighborhood is still largely in tatters, and many homes still sit severely damaged or destroyed.
The township has been steadily replacing infrastructure and working on streets in the neighborhood, however, especially near the oceanfront.
Roads ripped up by the storm along the ocean have mostly been repaved, and township-owned buildings that serve functions such as lifeguard headquarters are under construction. The Lord House, which is the North Beach lifeguard headquarters, will be open and fully functional, with a large parking lot. The Block House, which is the South Beach lifeguard headquarters, will have temporary restroom and shower facilities while the building is under construction.
Most of the area is still blocked off to vehicles, however.
"We still have the barricades up because there are still demolitions going on," said Maruca. "Between [demolitions] and new construction, a lot of people are expanding their homes and things of that nature."
The township will fully staff its beaches with lifeguards starting on weekends as of May 24th and open daily beginning June 21, Mayor Thomas Kelaher said.
Season badges in 2014 will cost $35, Maruca said. Weekly badges will cost $20, while daily badges will cost $7 on weekdays and $8 on weekends. Seniors can use the beach for free with an ID that can be obtained at the township recreation building, 1810 Warren Point Road.