Posts Tagged ‘FEMA refuses to pay for the Ocean Grove Fishing Pier’

Ocean Grove Fishing PIer, pre-Sandy. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove Fishing Pier, pre-Sandy. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Two years ago we reported that the Camp Meeting would not appeal the FEMA decision to deny funding for the pier.  Below is a link to that July 2014 article.

After that we heard nothing else on the subject.  The CMA had said that it would rebuild the pier, but that it was not a high priority.  But now that the North End component of the boardwalk reconstruction is done, some curiosity might again arise on this subject.

A related issue which is still in suspension is the fate of the OG Fishing Club which used to meet in the little house shown in the photo.  They used to lease the end of the pier from the Camp Meeting Association.

Today, in the Coaster, Herb Herbst, a long time member of the Fishing Club is quoted as saying, “Two months ago we received a call from FEMA—they found some funding. They mailed the application to me. I called the CMA, and we have until the end of 2016 to submit this paperwork.We have a meeting set for next Wednesday. I hope we will rebuild the fishing pier.”

****EDITOR’S NOTE   7/29/16:  We can’t account for Herb Herbst’s quote in the July 28 Coaster, but we contacted FEMA, and  this is the official response from FEMA  Region 2 (New York/New Jersey):

Hi, Paul –

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the Ocean Grove Fishing Pier. We’ve looked into this issue and have found that both the boardwalk and pier were originally denied funding. The boardwalk was appealed and has received funding. At this point, there has been no additional action on the pier and it remains unfunded.

Susie L. Webb, FEMA Region 2, External Affairs, News Desk




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Ocean Grove Fishing Pier, November 1, 2013.  Paul Goldfinger photo.©

Ocean Grove Fishing Pier, November 1, 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo.©  Click to enlarge


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Just when the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA) thought that everything was going right, the local FEMA project office notified the CMA that the Fishing Pier was ruled ineligible for FEMA Public Assistance because it is entirely recreational (unlike the boardwalk) and it falls under the rules for nonprofit entities.  This notification was received on May 16.


At a meeting tonight with the Community Leaders Group, COO J.P. Gradone announced this disturbing news. He said, “It shocked and disappointed us.”


“However,” he said, “We have a positive working relationship with FEMA and we will appeal.” Once again, the Governor’s office will supply consultants to help the CMA navigate these suddenly stormy waters.  He also said, “We plan to pursue available assistance through other federal, state and charitable resources to complement potential FEMA funding.”


The CMA had attended several recent meetings with the local FEMA office regarding the three-phased project (1= Middle Beach; 2=North End; and 3=Fishing Pier,) and at those meetings the CMA received verbal commitments for all 3 phases. Mr. Gradone said, “There was no indication that there would be anything but total project approval for the 3 phases.”


However, in March, during the process of expediting the Middle Beach phase, the Fishing Pier phase 3 was removed from the project plan.   At first this just seemed like routine paper work, but it actually was the beginning of a broken promise. Unfortunately , none of the written communications from FEMA ever formally mentioned the Fishing Pier. The estimated cost of the Fishing Pier is $1.1million.  


Attending the meeting this evening, besides the Community Leaders Group and  J.P. Gradone, were CMA President Dale Whilden and CMA official Bill Bailey.


The appeal process provides for 60 days to file an appeal to regional FEMA. The appeal will be similar to that for the boardwalk–to try to persuade them that the pier is more than just recreational. Meanwhile, the CMA has continued to place discussions about the private Fishing Club on hold.


Regarding the current status of funding for the boardwalk project (Middle Beach and North End), the $2.3 million has been allocated by Congress.  This is about 90% of the total needed for the Boardwalk. The rest will be provided with funds that were raised through the Ocean Grove Together Fund.


Neptune Township has issued a bond for $1.4 million to get things going at the Middle Beach, and it will be reimbursed by the CMA once the actual payment arrives from FEMA. COO Gradone said, “It’s a very complicated process, and we will work with the State while maintaining a positive attitude.”


Regarding the Together Fund’s $1.6 million, that will be used to pay towards the balance on the boardwalk, the Great Auditorium roof work (which will begin soon), and for a restoration of the Thornley Chapel. A full accounting of all these financial aspects will be presented at the Town Meeting on June 21.   (see the Wassup section for more on this meeting.)




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