SEA BRIGHT TO TAKE IT BACK TO THE BEACH

sb mount sandy 3 112112‘Mount Sandy’ and the small mountain of storm debris are gone from the beach, where Sea Brighters will gather on October 29. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

How does one mark the anniversary of a once-in-a-lifetime storm that destroyed one’s home or business?

In Sea Bright, residents and merchants will note the year-ago devastation of Hurricane Sandy on October 29 with a quiet potluck dinner and a bonfire on the beach to demonstrate their own resilience and determination to recover, recreation director Kathy Morris tells redbankgreen.

“It’s going to be very low-key,” Morris said, “just a place for us to meet, greet and chat.”

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SEA BRIGHT: DUNESDAY ROCKS THE BEACH

Continuing its bounceback from the walloping it took from Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright brought its can-do spirit right to the water’s edge Saturday with Dunesday, a fundraiser for the borough fire and first aid squads.

A daylong series of musical acts entertained from a stage on the beach abutting the Mad Hatter bar, with headliners Brian Kirk and the Jirks playing an electrifying set punctuated by lightning over the ocean. (Photos by Sarah Klepner, Trish Russoniello and John T. Ward for redbankgreen.)

SEA BRIGHT: GROUP TO PAY ANCHORAGE TAB

The Anchorage Apartments, overlooking the Shrewsbury River, would be razed for a park under a DEP plan. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Sea Bright’s borough council voted Thursday night to work with the state Department of Environmental Protection on turning the Anchorage Apartments into open space – after a group volunteered to make up for the town’s lost tax revenue.

The council made clear, though, that it would not support any parking on the property, which is located across Ocean Avenue from an ocean beach owned by the state and maintained by the borough. The governing body also insisted local control in its resolution of support, which is non-binding on the state.

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SEA BRIGHT: LOCALS SAY KEEP APARTMENTS

The Anchorage Apartments on the Shrewsbury River remain vacant eight months after Hurricane Sandy.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sea Bright officials last week shot down a proposal to level a hurricane-ravaged apartment complex for a park after borough residents objected.

At issue was a resolution that that would give the state Department of Environmental Protection the borough’s support in its proposal to acquire the property at 960 Ocean Avenue – the Anchorage Apartment building – under the Green Acres program for an area of “high-public use” –  most likely, a park.

But despite the promise of greener pastures replacing an uninhabitable structure, residents turned out at last Tuesday night’s council meeting to blast the idea.

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SEA BRIGHT COVETS ANCHORAGE SITE

The Anchorage Apartments were left uninhabitable by Hurricane Sandy, which deposited a utility pole in the living room of one unit, below. (Click to enlarge)

The storm-wracked Anchorage Apartments complex in Sea Bright would become a beach parking lot under a plan being considered by state officials, the Star-Ledger reported Tuesday morning.

Located on Ocean Avenue at the foot of the Route 520 Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and mere feet from the Shrewsbury River, the single-building complex is seen as a partial solution to a parking shortage that has vexed efforts to open up North Beach oceanfront to visitors.

Razing the property would come at a tradeoff for the town: the loss of a $45,000-a-year tax ratable. But Mayor Dina Long tells the Sledger that’s alright.

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SEA BRIGHT: BEACH VISITS GET SLOW START

Crowds were light on Memorial Day after two days of rainy holiday weekend weather. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

With two weekends down, Sea Bright officials are beginning to get an idea of what the first post-Sandy summer on the shore could look like, and it may not be great.

But even though the number of beach visitors is sharply down, Councilman Read Murphy told redbankgreen that he and other borough officials are optimistic things will pick up soon.

“Attendance over Memorial Day weekend was way, way off,” Murphy said. “But I think that was a combination of the poor weather we experienced and the fact that people may not have known what to expect when they came down here.”

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SEA BRIGHT: A PARTIAL START TO SUMMER

Contractors swarming Chapel Beach Club in Sea Bright on Thursday. Below, a lifeguard boat at the ready at Surfider Beach Club. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Seven months after Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore, Sea Bright enters the summer of 2013 far from fully recovered, with many buildings and storefronts still boarded up or demolished.

But there is ample evidence of rebuilding, and hope in the air, as the weather warms and more and more people begin to show up at the shore community.

“For all our losses, we managed to keep our customers,” said Frank Bain, owner of Bain’s Hardware, one of the first businesses on Ocean Avenue to reopen after the hurricane. “Business has been steady since we opened our doors. It’s safe to say the shop is back to normal. We’re here, and we’re ready for the upcoming season.”

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SEA BRIGHT: A GIFT OF FIREWORKS

After a one-year absence, Independence Day pyrotechnics are expected to soar over the Sea Bright beach. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

This summer, Sea Brighters and visitors to the coastal town will once again be able to ring in Independence Day with a boom, thanks in part to the generous help of a Mercer County town.

The borough’s annual fireworks display is to be partly funded by the town of Robbinsville, which has “adopted” the storm-wracked borough and recently donated a used police car to the borough.

Originally to be funded solely by the Businesses of Sea Bright – formerly the Sea Bright Business Alliance –  the show is slated for Saturday, July 6.

Robbinsville is “offering to cover the lion’s share of the cost,” Mayor Dina Long announced at Tuesday night’s borough council meeting.

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SEA BRIGHT: STORM-TOSSED TREASURES

Frank Torock scanning the beach in Sea Bright for hidden metal last month. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

The beaches of Sea Bright have been given a makeover in more ways than one since Hurricane Sandy. The shift in landscape has attracted a fresh raft of hobbyists.

They’re hard to miss: walking slowly, heads down, sweeping metal detectors over the sand in the hopes of finding some storm-churned treasure.

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SEA BRIGHT: SPRING ROARS ASHORE

With temperatures zooming into the high 70s for the first time in 2013, a dozen or so sunbathers were out on the sand at Anchorage Beach in storm-recovering Sea Bright Tuesday. Among them: Patti Hensler of Greensboro, North Carolina, and her sister, Maryjane Cuje, foreground, of Rumson, who declared the day “perfect.” (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: BEACH RESTORATION SLATED

A remnant of the old Route 36 Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge found on the Sea Bright municipal beach, where erosion from recent storms is evident, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After an eventful, landscape-shifting offseason, sand will again be on the move this summer in Sea Bright.

The federal government is expected to give the borough and neighboring shore communities a helping hand by fully funding a project to replenish storm-scoured beaches, town officials said. And a private contracting firm will use its  resources to move the massive “Mount Sandy” now occupying a municipal parking lots back onto the beaches and into sand dunes by May.

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SEA BRIGHT PLAYGROUND TAKES SHAPE

The playground-to-be at Sea Bright’s municipal beach. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The Sandy Ground Project Memorial Playground in Sea Bright, built to honor and pay tribute to the victims of the horrific Newtown School shootings, has broken ground, but is still more than a month away from being completed, according to borough Recreation Director Kathy Morris.

The Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore and the New Jersey Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association are spearheading a project called “The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play” that aims to create 26 memorial playgrounds across the state, dedicated to those who lost their lives in the December school slaughter. Sea Bright is the first town to receive a memorial playground, this one dedicated to Ann Marie Murphy, a special education teacher who lost her life in the shooting.

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WOODY’S SURFS OVER TO SNACK SHACK

Customers lined up on Memorial Day, below, at the new Woody’s Ocean Hut in Sea Bright.  (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Where others have tried and wiped out, Chris Wood is diving into the surf.

The owner of Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright last week opened a satellite business just yards away from his year-old restaurant, creating what he calls “a glorified snack bar” in a beachfront building that has seen a a lot of churn in recent years.

He thinks the pairing is the secret sauce to outlasting his predecessors at the well-hidden stand.

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SEA BRIGHT TO SHARE IN MILLIONS FOR SAND

Federal money will be used to replenish beaches in Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright is in for some sand to replenish oceanfront beaches torn into by Hurricane Irene last August.

Congressman Frank Pallone of Long Branch announced Wednesday that the borough, along with neighboring Monmouth Beach, would share in $12.3 million worth of federal funding for sand replacement.

The work, to be 75-percent paid for by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is expected to begin in the fall, Pallone said in a press release.

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SEA BRIGHT STRAYS YIELD NO KITTENS

A stray peeks out from a hideaway on the Sea Bright beach earlier this week. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A year after it was launched, a pilot trap, neuter and release program appears to have stopped population growth among Sea Bright’s stray cats in its tracks, proponents say.

No kittens are believed to have been born in the past year among the dozens of felines that inhabit the ocean beach and nearby edge of the Shrewsbury River, says Mayor Dina Long.

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SEA BRIGHT TESTS THE WATER ON BEACH PLAN

A concept plan for the pool club that’s envisioned for part of the beachfront, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Years in the talking, the transformation of Sea Bright’s dowdy oceanfront into a moneymaker complete with a pool club and restaurant could begin early next year, officials say.

But first, the borough council is awaiting the results of an analysis aimed at gauging  the appeal of the project to businesses its meant to lure.

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A ‘LITTLE KISS,’ THEN GOODNIGHT, IRENE

Braced for the worst, and recalling the devastation caused by the northeaster of 1992, the borough of Sea Bright evacuated all residents in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Irene Saturday. Even emergency personnel were ready to relocate to Rumson if things got as bad as forecast.

But less than 24 hours after what was supposed to have been the peak of a horrific storm, residents and business owners on the narrow spit of sand had one word to describe what they experienced when Irene, by then downgraded to a tropical storm, blew through: “lucky.”

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BOAT RUNS AGROUND AT SANDY HOOK

beached-boatThe National Park Service reports no injuries as a boat ran aground on the ocean beach at Sandy Hook after losing power late Wednesday afternoon. Details about the incident were not immediately available, a spokesman said. (Click to enlarge)

AN EYE, AND A NOSE, FOR THE BEACH

harleyAfter a romp on the Sea Bright beach and lunch, Harley, a year-old red-nosed pit bull, seemed eager to get back out on the sand Wednesday afternoon. But Harley’s owner, John Huhn of Highlands, said it was “time to go home for a nap.” (Click to enlarge)

WHILE INLAND WILTS, SEA BRIGHT SPARKLES

Remember the summer of 2009? When it rained the entire month of June?

Or how about the repeated snowstorms that got dumped on us this past winter?

Well, it may be hot now, but for beach lovers and boaters, the summer of 2010 is shaping up as a smactacular bonanza. That was in full evidence in the tiny burg of Sea Bright this weekend.

Photographer Peter Linder wandered the streets and strands of Sea Bright for redbankgreen on Saturday, and this is what he saw. And we get to enjoy it all over again!

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

COURT ORDERS MORE BEACH ACCESS AT CLUB

sb-beach-club-071110The club was the last holdout defendant in a lawsuit dating back four years, and lost. (Click to enlarge)

A state Superior Court in Freehold has ordered the oceanfront Seabright Beach Club to give nonmembers access to more than 15 feet of beach above the tide line.

The state Department of Environmental Protection, which filed suit against the club, the borough and eight other private clubs in 2006, announced the ruling on Friday.

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BEACHGOERS PLEASED WITH SEA BRIGHT DEAL

sea-bright-beach-1More beaches in Sea Bright will be open to the public thanks to a lawsuit settlement reached last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

More than three years of legal battling against the borough and private beach clubs has resulted in a win for the public, say local beachgoers.

They will be able to use more space in front of six private Sea Bright clubs as a result of a settlement in the state Superior Court last Wednesday. According to a prior agreement, the average visitor was only allowed to lay down a towel or chair within a 15-stretch along the waterline in front of the clubs. Now the space is 150 feet.

It may be hard to find anyone from the public who’s going to complain about that, considering the issue has long been a bone of contention within the borough.

“I’m all in favor for it,” said Maryanne Maletto, of Red Bank.

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SUMMER MAY END ON SUNNY NOTE

sea-bright-sunriseSunrise over Sea Bright this morning, as seen from Chapel Beach Club. The cheeky message on the lifeguard stand is premature, at best. (Click to enlarge)

Let’s hope the weather forecasters have this one right.

They’re predicting one mild, sunshiney day after another as we head into the final week of unofficial summer. And after the soaking this region took this season, it seems well-earned, doesn’t it?

Here’s the day-by-day outlook from the National Weather Service:

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