Six Residents Have Moved Back to Mantoloking
20 more have filled out paperwork requesting to return home
Since Mantoloking residents were allowed to repopulate Feb. 22, just six have returned to their homes, officials said.
"That's a big deal to me, because that's six more people with lights on, six more people to look after us, and six more people eating dinner in their own kitchens and sleeping in their own beds," said Chris Nelson, the borough's special counsel for storm recovery.
About 20 additional residents have submitted paperwork requesting they be approved to live in their homes, a required step the borough put in place under its repopulation plan.
Several hundred residents live year-round in the small town.
"We've come a long way in the last four months," since Superstorm Sandy cut a 20-foot deep inlet through the heart of the borough, at Herbert Street, said Nelson.
Since Route 35 reopened in January, the borough has had a heavy police presence, though the number of New Jersey state troopers present at a given time has been reduced to four from nine.
The teams of four will remain in Mantoloking "long term," said Nelson.
"The deterrence factor is absolutely enormous, and we need them there," he said.
The borough is now estimating that a program managed under FEMA to demolish approximately 200 storm-damaged homes will begin mid-to-late April, and a bid package will be prepared for the March 9 council meeting.
The demolition project will be competitively bid, Mayor George Nebel said.