Proceeds from MTV Telethon to Fund Seaside's Seawall
The borough is hoping to award a bid for seawall construction at its next council meeting.
Perhaps they'll call it the Snooki Seawall.
Seaside Heights is moving forward with its plan to construct a seawall the entire length of its boardwalk and is hoping to fund the entire project with money raised by MTV's Restore the Shore telethon, according to borough Mayor Bill Akers.
Though a bid has not yet been awarded for construction - Akers said the borough would like to award a bid as soon as its next council meeting - it's estimated the seawall would cost about $1 million, the same amount promised to the Hurricane Sandy-battered borough by MTV.
The money was raised during a November telethon featuring the "stars" of several MTV reality shows, most notably the crew from "Jersey Shore."
Beloved by orange-toned grenades and gorillas alike, but criticized as an unfair representation of New Jersey and its residents, the show was filmed in Seaside Heights and made household names of people like Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.
And now it's helping rebuild the resort town.
Reconstruction of Seaside's boardwalk recently began following a $3.6 million bid award to Millstone-based Sidd and Associates in January. Crews are currently installing more than 1,500 25-foot long wooden pilings into the beach, which will be used as support for the new boardwalk. Rebuilding the boardwalk area is a two-phase project consisting of boardwalk reconstruction, as well as building repairs and infrastructure improvement, like the construction of a seawall.
In all, the restoration project is expected to cost about $8 million.
The concrete seawall would be installed along the beach and would rise to the level of the boardwalk, Akers said. Visitors walking along the boards would be unable to see it, though it would be visible to beach goers.
Though Gov. Chris Christie initially demanded that shore communities construct dunes to protect themselves from future storms like Sandy, Akers said in recent conversations he's softened a bit on his stance, allowing for alternative protective measures, like seawalls, where appropriate.
"He realizes every community is going to be different," Akers said. "The main thing he wants is protection. In some communities he thinks it makes a great deal of sense (to install dunes), in others he understands it might not.
"We have to protect what we're rebuilding while also preserving a resort feel. That's what we are; that's how we pay the bills."
Specifics about the type of seawall Seaside will look to construct are not currently known pending further engineering review. The borough still needs to determine how deep into the beach the seawall should be placed and what design and building material is appropriate to mitigate potential beach erosion that could occur during ocean surges.
Building sand dunes and potentially obstructing views of the ocean just wasn't a possibility for a town that relies heavily on tourism for its economic survival.
Akers is hopeful that the complete boardwalk reconstruction, including building of the seawall, will be completed by May 10. That's the plan now, he said, and the borough is progressing accordingly.
There's also a potential added benefit to having a seawall instead of dunes, according to Akers. Though those walking on the boardwalk won't be able to see the wall, the thousands of tourists who flock to Seaside's beaches during the summer will have a great view.
Why not fill it with ads, Akers asked.