SEA BRIGHT: LIFELONG HOME REBUILT

20140617-181947.jpgDesiree Pierce, who lost her lifelong Sea Bright home to Hurricane Sandy, celebrated the completion of its rebuilding by volunteers Tuesday. Pierce, at center above with son Junior, helped Shareefah Taylor of Americorps, one of the volunteer organizations involved in restoring the New Street house, move a cake to the fridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. )

SEA BRIGHT: VOLUNTEERS START HOME REHABS

sb st bernard 1 032614Americorps volunteers painting the framework of Desiree Pierce’s home Wednesday to encapsulate any lingering mold. Below, Pierce and daughter, Gigi Burke, have been displaced from their home since Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sb gigi desiree 032614People who’ve never been through something like Hurricane Sandy don’t understand, says Gigi Burke.

“They don’t understand losing everything,” the 23-year-old Sea Bright resident said. “And then, they don’t understand the process and steps it takes to get back into your home.”

In the 500-plus days since Burke, her two siblings and their mother lost use of their New Street home to the surging Shrewsbury River and Atlantic Ocean, she’s heard “the question” from people who’ve temporarily put her up more than once.

“It was basically, ‘when are you leaving?’ but in a nice way,” she said Wednesday, amid of a flurry of rebuilding activity finally getting underway at her home.

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SEA BRIGHT RISING TO HELP REBUILD HOMES

sb elevations 4 060513Sea Bright homes being elevated last June. Officials estimate 80 percent of the town’s homes are still vacant. Below, Chris Wood, flanked by Pete Forlenza and Zack Rosenburg, addresses a gathering in Rumson Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sb rising 022514Sixteen months after the churning Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury River met on Sea Bright’s streets in the fury of a hurricane, the borough is still something of a ghost town, said Chris Wood.

Yes, the business district has seen a welcome comeback. “But 80 percent of the homes on the side streets of Sea Bright are still vacant,” said Wood, a co-founder of Sea Bright Rising, a nonprofit that has raised and distributed close to $1.3 million in donated funds to some 300 families and 17 businesses in town since Hurricane Sandy hit.

Now, though, Sea Bright Rising is partnering with another nonprofit born in the aftermath of a hurricane, with the goal of rebuilding as many as 100 homes in Sea Bright, Rumson and Highlands – at no charge to those homeowners.

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SEA BRIGHT: RISK-TAKERS FLOODING TOWN

Antonio Murray, above, opened Beach Burgers and Grille on Tuesday. Below, Billy Geltzeiler with server Greer McCarthy at Billy G’s Beach Bistro. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Store by store, restaurant by restaurant, the old-timers are coming back to Sea Bright, a town where not one was spared the trauma of Hurricane Sandy.

From Angler’s Marina to Yumi, from Woody’s Ocean Grille to Northshore Menswear to Bain’s Hardware,  merchants have restarted their businesses as quickly as their bank balances would allow. Others are in the process of renovating. Expect Gracie & the Dudes to return shortly. Ditto for the the 7-Eleven.

But within this returning tide is a second wave: newcomers to Ocean Avenue business district. Risk-takers willing to stake their livelihoods, and their life savings, on the chance that the Shrewsbury River and the Atlantic Ocean won’t again meet in the places their renting. Not soon, at least.

Last week, redbankgreen introduced you to Alice Gaffney, a former school cafeteria cook who opened Alice’s Kitchen in the space long occupied by Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch. Here’s a look at three more newcomers – owners of a full-service restaurant, a burger place and a surf shop.

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SEA BRIGHT: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Two charities – Sea Bright Rising and Ama Ristorante’s Building Permit Relief Fund – with the common mission of helping Sea Bright victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their homes and businesses were the beneficiaries of festivities at Driftwood Cabana Club Monday that culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.

Daylong downpours halted, a rainbow appeared, and a pyrotechnics show billed as New Jersey’s largest this Independence Day week lit up the sky above the Atlantic Ocean and Sea Bright as thousands looked on. redbankgreen was at Driftwood to capture the spectacle. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click the embiggen symbolto enlarge)

 

SEA BRIGHT TO MUSTER SPRING BREAK MUSCLE

By DAN NATALE

Forget the wet tee-shirt contests and beer-soaked bacchanals of spring break in Florida. Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long has another offer for college students:

Come to the real Jersey Shore to get your hands dirty and your shirt soaked in your own sweat, for a good cause.

Frustrated by Congressional foot-dragging on post-Hurricane Sandy funding, and looking at the prospect of another six months before the town sees a dime of the $60 billion package lawmakers finalized this week, Long said it’s up to the town to rebuild itself. And to do so, she hopes to tap into the good will of people who are aching to help and don’t mind smacking their own thumbs on occasion with a hammer.

“We’re trying organize a volunteer effort that mirrors what happened here two months ago, when thousands of volunteers organized to clean out” storm-wracked homes and stores, Long told a packed town hall meeting Wednesday night. “We want to bring in groups of skilled volunteers that will hang Sheetrock, do subflooring, and do light carpentry.”

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