By John Burton
RUMSON — Borough officials said about 70 percent of the homes in the borough’s West Park section are heavily damaged and have been deemed uninhabitable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Quite a bit of homes have sustained some structural damage,” primarily in that section, said Dennis Peras, the borough’s construction official.
The West Park section is near St. George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church, located on Lincoln Avenue, the eastern point of the borough. The area includes Parker, Washington and Waterman avenues, Warren Street and Oyster Bay Drive, near the Shrewsbury River.
Homes are Warren Street and Waterman Avenue were impacted by a surge that was as much as 72 inches above grade, Peras said.
Peras spoke about the damage at a late afternoon borough council meeting during which the lack of power was also discussed.
“The elephant in the room with us is the power,” said Mayor John Ekdahl about the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.
Ekdahl was talking at the meeting which was held in the cold and quickly darkening council chambers as the sun set Monday afternoon.
Borough hall, like the rest of the borough, lost power as a result of the storm and has yet to have it restored a week later.
The mayor said a Jersey Central Power & Light representative told him about the power possibly being restored by Thursday but he cautioned that estimate “isn’t gospel by any means.
“We have no control over that in any way,” Ekdahl said.
JCP&L, the electric utility company, has restored power to parts of Red Bank, with that restoration driven in great part by Riverview Medical Center being located there, Ekdahl said.
Power company representatives have indicated Fair Haven, just west of Rumson, will probably get its power back by Wednesday with the Rumson, if all goes well, getting it back Thursday.
The reason for Fair Haven’s earlier return is because JCP&L is moving west to east in this area, said David Marks who is with T&M Associates, the borough’s engineering firm.
The electric company has been working on repairing high voltage lines before undertaking repairs to its substation. “This gets the most number of people energized,” Marks said.
“What bothers me is we’re suppose to have a fairly strong nor‘easter on Wednesday,” Ekdahl said, noting that that storm, with possible 50 mile-per-hour winds could hamper repair efforts and exacerbate the damage the borough has already sustained.