Lots of new and exciting things happening in Toms River, NJ this summer and this year
From a downtown night out to Huddy Park to the sands of Ortley Beach to supporting all our great local restaurants and businesses, there are so many events and fun things happening across Toms River this summer and beyond.
Due to some unpleasant weather in March and April, Toms River was one of the towns along the northern barrier island in Ocean County that needed to address some needs on the beaches.
"We're repairing some of the dune damage that was done, basically around the Surf Club area. At the last council meeting, we approved $250,000 so they're trucking in the sand now, that should all be done when schools are out and the beaches are open full-time," Toms River Mayor Maurice "Mo" Hill tells Townsquare Media News.
Beach safety on the sand and in the water are always paramount but there are reminders for all heading to the sands in Toms River this summer.
"I have to stress again -- beach safety and water safety as we go into the summer season, only swim when the lifeguards are on duty and in a protected area, don't swim outside the confines of where the flags are on the beach," Mayor Hill said. "As we all learned -- digging sand, digging too big a hole of sand can have tragic consequences. We lost a young man a couple of weeks ago. Our Beach Patrol is taught that no bigger than a one and a half to two-foot hole for water to come up and kids to play in but please, please, please don't dig a hole and bury yourself in the sand because you may have trouble getting out and it was a tragedy that I think we could have avoided. That beach was a private beach in the north portion of Toms River, in the Normandy section, but it was unprotected and there were no staff or lifeguards on for the beaches -- so, everyone is safe and enjoy the beaches."
Before and now certainly after, there are continued awareness and education efforts ongoing to ensure everyone is adhering to beach safety rules and guidelines in Toms River -- and beyond.
"Our beaches are a little narrow, we've lost some sand since the last replenishment so we're hoping that the Army Corps of Engineers comes back in," Mayor Hill said. "We need them back for next summer so that we have a decent size beach."
While work still has to be done, there is still good protection on the beaches against any upcoming storms.
"The dunes are doing their job, first of all, yes, we lost a little bit of dune but I can remember before we had the dunes before Sandy came, and even after Sandy before the Army Corps came in -- if we had a severe NorthEast storm, the waves were coming right up to the boardwalk and into the streets in some cases and when Sandy hit, we didn't have the dune so we lost not only the beach, but we lost private property," Mayor Hill said. "Now, all those houses have all been rebuilt, so these dunes are doing what they're supposed to do. Yes, we're fighting Mother Nature and we realize we can't win that battle, but we can at least play it as a tie and hold the line on it."
Following the tragedy on the beach in the South Seaside Park section of Berkeley Township last August that claimed the life of lifeguard, 19-year-old Keith Pinto, many Jersey Shore towns have been working on and implementing safety plans for the beach in the event of severe inclement weather.
"One of the things I did -- I was at the League of Municipalities (in Atlantic City), it was the first time I went down as a mayor and I was concerned because we had one lifeguard from South Seaside Park as you know last year was electrocuted from a lightning storm, so as I was walking around I saw a lightning protection system and the cost was about $30-35,000 and I thought this would be a good idea for the Ortley Beach area to put two sirens up and it supposedly notifies, I think it's 10-15 miles away, so you have a warning," Mayor Hill said. "I was a lifeguard when I was in college and it was always -- you'd see the dark clouds forming and it wasn't until you heard thunder that you could say 'okay, everybody out of the water', so rather than wait for that or a freak lighting strike, this should protect us."
There is a lighting protector at the Bey Lea Golf Course in Toms River and it is expected to soon be purchased with the anticipation it'll be up and installed by the 4th of July weekend.
"That will protect us from any storms," Mayor Hill said.
There are lots of great, fun events going on all over Toms River this summer from the beach area back to the mainland.
"We have dined out every Friday and Saturday night, we're going to have food trucks on Sundays because a lot of the restaurants are closed -- the brewery and the distillery will be open, so with the food trucks there will be an opportunity to come downtown, we've got the Farmer's Market every Wednesday at Huddy Park from 11-4, July 16 is going to be 'Summer In The Street' where we'll close down the streets -- we'll have vendors and a lot of activities for our residents and my personal favorite -- is 'Downtown Cruisin' the second Wednesday when we have antique cars downtown," Mayor Hill said.
Hear the full interview with Mayor Maurice "Mo" Hill. He joined us on Shore Time with Vin and Dave, Sunday 6/19/2022.