Seaside Park's Casino Pier to reopen at full strength for first time since Sandy
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SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Casino Pier in Seaside Heights is set to reopen on Saturday, signaling the start of the summer season, but it's also a milestone for the Jersey Shore town.
The pier was decimated during Superstorm Sandy, and this season it will be back at full strength.
When the attraction opens Saturday, it will have 16 rides up and running - hopefully bringing in those vital tourism dollars.
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New rides include "Air Race," which is expected to be a favorite, "Jump Around" for the little ones, and "Skyscraper," coming back into service this year.
"That's what people come to town for," says the Casino Pier Director Lou Cirigliano. "They come for entertainment. And if nothing is here, they don't bother coming."
Business owners are desperate for revenue after a horrible summer last year, since rides weren't running until late July. Mayor Bill Akers says most business in town was down 30-35 percent.
The midway games and shops are being improved and rebuilding continues on the portion of the pier where the now infamous Jet Star once sat.
Casino Pier will carry the boardwalk when it comes to rides since fire destroyed Funtown Pier in Seaside Park.
Visitors say they are happy to see the Pier open, but the memory of Sandy is never far off.