Agency’s ruling will leave gap in Jersey Shore and hinder rebuilding
Senator Jennifer Beck today expressed outrage over FEMA’s rejection of Ocean Grove’s request for aid in the wake of Sandy. FEMA determined that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is a private non-profit organization and not eligible for public assistance dollars. In a letter sent to FEMA earlier in January from Beck and other legislators, the lawmakers made it clear that the boardwalk in Ocean Grove has received funding from FEMA and the Army Corp. of Engineers in the past.
“FEMA’s Decision today is not only disappointing, but it is unacceptable,” Beck said. “The Ocean Grove Boardwalk serves as an essential public thoroughfare and connects Bradley Beach to Asbury Park. It provides access to emergency services and augments flood protection measures. We will be appealing this ruling immediately.”
In the letter sent to FEMA officials on January 30th states that the Ocean Grove boardwalk has been recognized as public property and dedicated as a public roadway since at least 1908 when a Monmouth County court ruling exempted it from taxation because of the boardwalk’s previous designation as a “public highway.” The boardwalk, which provides access to communities both north and south of Ocean Grove, has also been clearly recognized in court rulings as a public facility.
“Today’s decision is destructive to the economy of Ocean Grove and will have long lasting negative impacts on the community,” Beck explained. “To reject Ocean Grove’s request for assistance will leave them unable to rebuild this historic boardwalk and create a gap on New Jersey’s shoreline. I am hopeful that in our appeal those making these decisions will see the long term implications of this decision and realize that not only is the Ocean Grove Boardwalk a public property but it is essential to both the safety and commerce of Ocean Grove and surrounding towns.”