Brick Township Looks to Rebuild After Sandy [AUDIO/PHOTOS]
Brick Township was one of the worst hit by Hurricane Sandy, but as residents are slowly being allowed back onto the barrier islands, residents and officials must begin the difficult task of rebuilding.
Getting things back to "normal" will be no small feat for Brick,since seven thousand homes received some levels of water, the winds and flood waters dumped five hundred thousand cubic yards of debris, and FEMA estimates around 132 homes were completely destroyed.
Brick has already launched the first phase of letting residents back, albeit temporarily. The next phases will let homeowners arrive temporarily with contractors, and will be getting off the ground soon.
However Mayor Steve Acropolis says many of these homes are a long way away from being livable. "Those people are probably going to need a place to live for a period of two to three months. While their home is renovated. If they have had any significant water in their homes, whether it's a foot, an inch, or in their rafters, you have to remediate it. Those are issues we're going to have to work through."
Adding "the infrastructure and utilities; gas, electric, water, sewer, those are things that are going to have to be remediated before people can come back in."
While JCP&L and Verizon crews have been a steady fixture in the tattered communities, Acropolis notes one of the longest projects will be rebuilding the gas lines throughout much of the Barrier Island communities. While homeowners might be anxious to return, Acropolis notes even though streets are clean and homes accessible, they're still a long way from safe.
"You might have a road, you might have electric to your house, but you might not have gas and some of the other necessities that we take for granted. That might take a little time to get back."
The storm leveled entire blocks, including many multimillion dollar beach front properties. Acropolis says they have to also think about the future of the Township's ratable base.
"Obviously if there's going to be a transitional ratable base, where people are and where they're not, and what kind of values people's homes are going to have, whether or not you're in a hurricane area. We're going to be addressing all of those things."