SEASIDE PARK - The Seaside Park planning board has approved the first steps in rebuilding the boardwalk that was devastated by fire last September.

A stretch of the boardwalk, recently reconstructed post-Sandy, and the buildings on it, were taken down again by the massive blaze.

The owners of the property, Funtown Pier Associates, presented preliminary plans, and the board voted unanimously to approve the proposal.

For Beth Hansen, owner of Biscayne Candies, which burned during the fire, it was welcome news. "I'm hopeful we will have temporary structures, trailers or something to run business out of," she says.

"Everybody is optimistic they'll get it done if not by Memorial Day, at least by June," says Seaside Park Planning Board Chairman Sal Mattia. "The municipality wants to see it happen. Residents want to see it happen. Tourists want to see it happen. Owners want to see it happen."

Mattia says Seaside Heights is well on its way to a rebuilt boardwalk, and they want to catch up.

Tuesday's vote applies to the boardwalk itself and it will allow work to start as soon as possible. Officials say plans for rebuilding the structures that once sat on the boardwalk still need to be worked out.
The town hopes to have temporary buildings in place by July 4. Permanent structures and stores won't be up until summer 2015.