MOONACHIE - The Sandy-devastated town of Moonachie is about to see some big improvements, thanks to $2.1 million in FEMA money headed there.
Nearly 17 months after Sandy destroyed the borough hall and police department, the building remains as it was the day the storm dumped nearly 3 feet of water inside.
Since Sandy, borough offices and the police department have been operating out of trailers. "I'm a little surprised it took this long to get this started," says Moonachie Police Chief Michael Maguire.
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Rep. Bill Pascrell joined town leaders to announce the grant that will help the town rebuild. "We must ensure these critical operations are replaced here in Moonachie so our first responders can continue to keep this community safe," he says.
Pascrell says the delays are due to FEMA's strict guidelines, which weren't flexible enough until he got involved. But there is not enough money to elevate the new building and Moonachie will have to appeal to FEMA for even more.
"We certainly do not want to have a situation where we rebuild and we're back in the same place in the future," Pascrell says. "Effective mitigation is the only way to keep us out of this situation."
The mayor says demolition on the old building will start as soon as possible. Construction on the new one is expected to start sometime in the fall.