Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Grove Boardwalk repairs’

OG boardwalk near Seaview Avenue, looking south towards the Pavilion. The long unfinished stretch is to be completed by Memorial Day.  CMA funded territory.  5/2/18 © Blogfinger.  Click to enlarge.


This shows the North End boards where TREX meets non-TREX—FEMA funded territory. Blogfinger photo. ©



By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  Video by Blogfinger.

Regarding the current boardwalk project, we have communicated with the OGCMA  and with FEMA, and here is a summary of our findings:

a.  You may recall that the massive Sandy storm, in October, 2012, destroyed about 60%  of the boards in Ocean Grove, primarily in the “middle beach” section.   But damage occurred at the north and south ends as well.

From the OGCMA:  “FEMA reimbursed a significant percentage of the cost to repair/replace only those sections of the boardwalk which were significantly damaged by Sandy.”

b. The South End boards were protected somewhat due to a pre-existing metal bulkhead that had been built after a 1992 nor’easter. But the CMA embarked on a reconstruction project near the beach offices and the connection to Bradley Beach.

c.   Similarly, there was some damage at the North End, and a new bulkhead was built there after Sandy.  The boards at the North End, by the White Whale building, which don’t match the TREX are, according to the CMA, not old boards.  “They are newly installed wood, despite being of a different material than the other new portions of the boardwalk.”

North of Seaview Avenue  (see photos above,)   FEMA estimated and paid $494,650.80 for that work, but the CMA wound up spending $862, 542.13, and they paid for the balance.

d.  The Middle Beach project was completed in 2014 with FEMA funds.  The engineering and structural challenges were significant, as the CMA strived to rebuild a very strong boardwalk to withstand future storms.

f. From OGCMA:   “The current project replacing boardwalk from the southern side of the Boardwalk Pavilion to Seaview Avenue is 100% financed by the OGCMA.”     President Michael Badger says, “This replacement effort is not part of the FEMA reimbursement for super-storm Sandy.  The demolition of the old section of the boardwalk, debris removal, surface grading, and construction involving structural components, decking, railing, steps, curbing, and other elements are being funded by the OGCMA   (‘over $1 million’) without government reimbursement.”

FEMA has verified that this  CMA statement is factual.

g.   From FEMA:  “In total, FEMA awarded $2,174,565.82 in public assistance funding to repair the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association boardwalk. These costs are from the cumulative total of three separate PA project worksheets addressing different areas of repair. Included in this total is $549,612.00 for the north section of the Boardwalk.”

h.  At Blogfinger we have been interested in this subject since the storm  and  we posted many articles, more than any other media outlet,  about the FEMA decisions vis a vis reimbursement to rebuild the Boardwalk and about construction and engineering details.

So many people from the OGCMA, State and Federal governments, and Neptune Township, participated in the difficult effort to obtain reimbursement for the Grove as other Jersey Shore communities did.

You can do Blogfinger searches by typing in key words at the upper right hand corner of our home page.  The topic is very complicated.




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By Charles Layton and Mary Walton

Two and a half months after Hurricane Sandy, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association still hasn’t been told whether it is eligible to apply for FEMA funds for its boardwalk.

Until FEMA answers that basic question, the Camp Meeting cannot even submit an application for such funding.

And because time is of the essence, Camp Meeting administrator Ralph delCampo said Wednesday that the association will need to take out a loan for the repairs it must make in time for the summer beach season. If FEMA money does eventually come through, it could be used to repay that loan.

“As an organization we’re stretched financially,” he said in an interview.

In 2011, after Hurricane Irene damaged Ocean Grove’s fishing pier, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) ruled that the Camp Meeting, which owns both the pier and the boardwalk, was ineligible to apply for storm damage reimbursement.

Neptune Township CFO Michael Bascom, who has worked closely with the Camp Meeting on storm relief issues, said this week that he thinks FEMA will probably reverse its 2011 ruling. (Unlike the damage from Sandy, the 2011 damage was to an area of the pier not open to the general public.)

But even if FEMA does declare the Camp Meeting an eligible applicant now, the association will still face tougher-than-usual obstacles to having its application for funding approved. That’s because the rules are different for private, non-profit organizations than they are for municipalities. Ocean Grove is unique in having its boardwalk and beach owned by a private entity.

DelCampo said that the Camp Meeting’s plans to restore a large portion of the beach and boardwalk in time for Memorial Day could cost in the neighborhood of $1 million. That is in addition to other expenses, including a $100,000 insurance deductible the Camp Meeting must lay out for repairs to the damaged roof of the Great Auditorium. A temporary roof was quickly laid in place immediately after the storm, but now a permanent one of specially fabricated stainless steel is required. The Camp Meeting’s total damage costs – including work on the boardwalk, pier, beach and dunes – will come to between $3 million and $4 million, delCampo said. “That’s a very preliminary number.” The Camp Meeting’s entire annual budget is normally around $5 million.

DelCampo said the Camp Meeting is launching a fund-raising drive. He also said that the Camp Meeting will apply not only to FEMA but “to other agencies, any other governmental agencies.”

Bascom suggested in a separate interview that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development may have funding available for Sandy-related repairs. DelCampo said the Camp Meeting intends to apply to HUD. The association is working with a professional in the field of grant applications to federal agencies.

Bascom said the Camp Meeting should have an easier time qualifying for FEMA funding for the sand dunes than for the boardwalk. That’s because the sand dunes can be seen as a form of “hazard mitigation” – i.e., the dunes protect beachfront properties from storm surges.

The legal problem with funding for Ocean Grove’s boardwalk is that FEMA classifies the boardwalk as a recreational facility. And while, under FEMA’s rules, local governments can be reimbursed for damage to recreational facilities, private non-profits such as the Camp Meeting usually cannot.

Bascom, Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta and Camp Meeting representatives Bill Bailey and Jack Green met in Trenton last week with a representative of the governor’s office to discuss, among other things, this very obstacle, which other New Jersey beach towns do not face.

Camp Meeting and Township officials both argue that the Ocean Grove boardwalk serves much more than simply a recreational purpose. DelCampo said on Wednesday that the boardwalk acts as an economic engine for the entire town and provides interconnectivity between Ocean Grove and adjacent towns. It is unfair, he and others say, for FEMA to treat Ocean Grove’s boardwalk differently when it is functionally just the same as all the other ones.

DelCampo and Camp Meeting Director of Operations Bill Bailey, whom Blogfinger also interviewed on Wednesday, both expressed disappointment that some Ocean Grovers have criticized the Camp Meeting for being slow to act following the storm.

Bailey said Camp Meeting officials have worked diligently with technical consultants, engineers and other professionals to analyze the problems caused by the storm and to design solutions that would minimize damage from future storms.

 “We took the storm more seriously than most towns,” delCampo said, noting that the Camp Meeting built temporary dunes along the beach in the days and hours before the storm hit. “We were the most proactive of all the towns on the North Jersey shore.

“We’re committed to do everything we can,” he said, “but we have limitations.”

NOTE: For an account of the beachfront repairs the Camp Meeting has committed to make by Memorial Day, see our previous story here.

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Ocean Grove, NJ. Dec. 9, 2012.  Paul Goldfinger photo

Ocean Grove, NJ. Dec. 9, 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo. Left click to enlarge

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our December 23rd story on whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse Ocean Grove for repairs to our storm-damaged boardwalk raised as many questions as it answered.

Many Grovers are wondering why disaster relief for our boardwalk is in doubt while relief for damaged boardwalks in neighboring towns is not. The answer is that our boardwalk is owned not by a local government but by the Camp Meeting Association, a private, non-profit organization.

A FEMA official assigned to Monmouth County hurricane relief has been following our discussion of this issue. Today, she weighs in with an explanation of some of the main considerations on which FEMA’s decision will rest. Although she makes no prediction as to which way that decision will go, she frames the issue in some detail. We present her analysis here.


By Robin E. Smith, FEMA Media Relations

Public Assistance grants from FEMA may be given to state, local and tribal governments, as well as to certain qualifying private non-profit organizations, to cover 75 percent of the cost of disaster repairs.

The criteria for approving the grants, set by the Stafford Act, differ for governmental entities and private non-profits.

State, tribe or local governments may apply for disaster-related damages to public facilities they own that provide flood control, navigation, irrigation, reclamation, public power, sewage treatment and collection, water supply and distribution, watershed development, or an airport facility. They may also apply for disaster-related damages to non-federally funded streets, roads or highways, and any other public building, structure, park or system, including those used for educational, recreational, or cultural purposes, that is owned by a state, tribe or local government.

In general, a private non-profit facility may qualify for FEMA Public Assistance grants if it provides educational, utility, irrigation, emergency, medical, rehabilitational, or custodial care resources to the community.

In certain cases, private non-profit organizations that provide essential, non-recreational services of a governmental nature to the general public may also be eligible. Examples include some museums, zoos, performing arts facilities, libraries, homeless shelters, senior citizen centers, and similarly purposed facilities.

For a form that helps determine the eligibility of private non-profits for FEMA Public Assistance grants, see http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=2726. Additional information about FEMA Public Assistance grants for non-profit cultural institutions may be found at https://www.heritagepreservation.org/federal/index.html.

Ed. note: Of particular interest to Ocean Grovers is this link.

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