Monmouth Officials Bank On Sandy Hook Re-Opening [AUDIO]
Monmouth County towns decimated by Superstorm Sandy are hopeful that Sandy Hook National Park is open this summer.
Its one of dozens of national parks up and down the East Coast destroyed by the superstorm. Drifts of sand nearly six feet high, a concert stage and concessions stands destroyed, a damaged sewer system.
"We are planning to open by Memorial Day weekend, but a lot hinges on that. We need to have safety in mind first, fixing the pipes, the broken water and sewer system," said assistant park superintendent Pete McCarthy.
He says tons of challenges still remain at the park, located in Monmouth County.
"We have been in here removing the sand by the truckload, it takes a lot of work, making sure the roads are passable and safe."
Local officials say their tourism budgets depend on Sandy Hook being open by summer.
"We are all working together, but this will absolutely hurt towns nearby if the park is closed. I am optimistic we will not let that happen and have at least part of the park open in time for visitors" said McCarthy.
So far, no damage estimate for the park.
"We won't know that for quite some time, but it is extensive."
Sandy Hook will be among other national parks competing for federal dollars to rebuild.
"There are historic sites and buildings here, I am confident that we will get federal aid to help us clean up and start over" said McCarthy.