OCEAN GROVE - Ocean Grove businesses celebrated as the town officially opened its new boardwalk Thursday.
Damaris Adamo owns the two Salt Shack grills on the beach and says after Sandy, business was a third of what it was before the storm. "This whole boardwalk was gone, it was across the street, it was in people's living rooms," she says.
She was thrilled to see Gov. Chris Christie cut the ribbon, reopening a newly built boardwalk.
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"Some things in all this, as we've learned painfully, are difficult to get done," Christie says. "Some things are not going to be handed to us easily."
The entire boardwalk project will cost more than $1 million. The good news is that about 90 percent of that will be paid for with FEMA money, but that almost didn't happen.
FEMA twice rejected the community's application for aid. Ocean Grove is part of Neptune Township, but managed by the Camp Meeting Association.
Private nonprofits aren't eligible for FEMA money, but FEMA changed its mind thanks to some hard lobbying by state and federal officials.
"They weren't getting it on paper just how persuasive we thought the argument is," says Rep. Chris Smith. "Particularly from a safety and well-being point of view."
According to Christie's office, the ribbon-cutting today means all of New Jersey's boardwalks are now open for the summer.