Belmar will be able to rebuild its boardwalk more cheaply than it had expected.

Belmar boardwalk after Sandy (YouTube)

It had approved as much as $17 million to replace the walkway that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

But at Wednesday night's council meeting, Belmar awarded a $6.6 million contract for the work after bids came in lower than expected.

Mayor Matthew Doherty says the work should be finished by May 1.

They're using ipe (EE'-pay), a tropical hard wood that some towns have chosen not to use because of the impact its harvesting has on endangered rain forests.

Belmar raised its beach fees slightly to help pay for the work. Doherty says the borough has already sold more than 1,000 season badges for next summer, about 400 ahead of last year's pace.

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