Borough residents will get some relief from their chronic flooding problem, thanks to a federal grant for bulkheads and flood control.
The borough will receive a $1.37 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The money is part of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, according to the office of U.S. Representative Frank Pallone Jr.
Pallone (D-NJ), whose 6th Congressional District includes Sea Bright, submitted an application requesting the funding for the community’s work.
The money, according to a statement released by the congressman’s office, would be used to install a new bulkhead at the foot of Beach Way, at the shore of the Shrewsbury River, and to repair bulkheads on River, South, Beach, Center streets and Osborne Place. Funding will also be used to pay for a submersible storm water pump on Osborne.
The borough is a narrow stretch of land that lies between the river and Atlantic Ocean and is flood prone during high tides, storms and combinations of the two.
“Chronic flooding has sadly become a regular occurrence in the lives of the residents and business owners of these neighborhoods,” Pallone said in a statement released late last week, “and the bulkheads will go a long way to minimize flooding and protect the community.”
Those streets are part of the borough’s downtown and “The downtown residents have been living with persistent flooding for years,” Mayor Dina Long said this week.
The structures along those roads, especially older ones, have borne the brunt of the flooding, with the salt water taking its toll on the foundations. That can create “a hazard in some cases and certainly a lot of stress and anxiety for many others,” Long said.
With the federal money promised, borough officials can begin the process of moving forward with the project. And while the $1.37 million will likely not cover the entire cost of the work, it is certainly a very good start, according to Long.
State Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), whose district now includes the borough, offered his support for the grant and what it would mean for the community. “A grant like this is especially helpful as it eases the fiscal burden on local taxpayers while allowing the township to protect its residents,” O’Scanlon said in his press release. “In this case an ounce of protection is truly worth a pound of cure.”
Along with this award the borough recently received $12.3 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for beach replenishment project for the borough and neighboring Monmouth Beach. Pallone was instrumental in helping obtain that funding, Long said, and stressed the importance of the beach as a local and financial resource.