Seaside Heights, Seaside Park boardwalk still rebuilding from massive September fire
SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Portions of the area destroyed five months ago by a massive fire, which consumed three blocks of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park boardwalk, have been rebuilt, but progress has been stalled.
Authorities are hoping the area will be rebuilt in time for Memorial Day, but there are some obstacles.
Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers says one part of the boardwalk is near completion, and it's a stark contrast to the lack of reconstruction south of that area into Seaside Park.
"We want, at the very least, to have a boardwalk back up so the two towns can be connected like they always were," Akers says.
The north end of the boardwalk is owned by the municipality, but on the other side of a fence, the area is privately owned.
Mounds of sand and some support beams that withstood the flames make up the private land now. The September blaze claimed three blocks of boardwalk and about sixty businesses.
A spokesperson for the company that owns the land in Seaside Heights, Belle Freeman Properties, says negotiations have been strained.
"With 37 partners, how quickly do you think we're going to come to an agreement on that?" says Kim Pascarella. "We have a meeting and have 37 opinions on what should be done."
Residents say they are worried. "I work for a lot of the businesses in town and it was a very slow last year because of the boardwalk," says Barbara Jones.
Ryan's Deli worker Brook Adams says many are getting nervous. "I don't know what our future is going to be like but it's not looking great," she says.
Lease holders in Seaside Park say there are more complications with the property owner that need to be addressed.
Mayor Akers says he is trying to stay optimistic.