SEA BRIGHT: FREE BEACH TO GET COSTLY LAV

sb anchorage 1 101313A four-stall restroom with a ramp over the seawall is expected to be completed by Memorial Day, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sb anchorage 2 101313To those in the know, it’s Sea Bright’s “free beach,” and free it shall remain for the foreseeable future, town officials say.

But one of the tradeoffs in visiting the Anchorage Beach – reliance on porta-potties for bathroom service – is finally about to end, at a steep cost.

Also known as the Al Ferguson Surfing Beach, Anchorage Beach – located on Ocean Avenue just north of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge – is about to get new, permanent restrooms.

Construction is slated to begin shortly on the facility, which will feature four stalls each in the men’s and women’s rooms, town officials said this week. It will be sited in the southern end of a narrow parking lot alongside the sea wall, in the present location of the portable toilet.

The bid requirements call for the job to be completed by Memorial Day.

The restroom is a long-anticipated piece of a 2010 settlement of a lawsuit brought by the state of New Jersey against the borough and its private beach clubs four years earlier over over access to the ocean shoreline.

One component of the settlement was the creation of a restroom at the location, which is state-owned but managed by the municipality. The borough even obtained $158,000 in 2009 from a Community Development Block Grant to put toward the project, borough Administrator Joe Verruni tells redbankgreen.

But before the facility got underway, Hurricane Sandy hit in October, 2012. The storm blew out a bulkhead, exacerbating flooding of the Anchorage Apartments and other homes across the street, said borough Engineer Jackie Flor. It also meant a new expense.

The bulkhead has now been replaced with wood certified as not having come from endangered forest, an architect told the borough council this week.

Also slated for the project is a ramp over the seawall to accommodate people with disabilities, and sand mats that will enable access past dunes to the ocean beach.

Total cost: $396,398, said Verruni.

“The cost keeps growing and growing,” Mayor Dina Long said at a council workshop earlier this week. “We did not anticipate it would be a very expensive bathroom.”

Borough taxpayers, and beachgoers, however, won’t be on the hook, Verruni said. In addition to the CDBG grant, the borough expects to get $119,817 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the cost of the bulkhead.

The balance is to come from an account funded by private beach clubs in town that were part of the settlement, Verruni said.

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