Chris Christie Visits Long Beach Island, NJ; Residents May Be Allowed Re-Entry On Friday Pending Nor’easter Damage [PHOTOS]
It was a long week for Long Beach Island, NJ residents, and today the damaged beach town will be getting a visit from Governor Chris Christie. The Governor will be visiting the New Jersey vacation destination that approximately 20,000 people call home year round.
Long Beach Island was one of the beach towns hit hard by Hurricane Sandy; condemning homes and destroying businesses. The Island has been closed to residents after a mandatory evacuation by the state was put in place before Superstorm Sandy hit. While a few stragglers stayed behind to protect their homes and businesses, the streets are mainly filled with emergency personnel, including the National Guard, police, fire and emergency responders.
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LBI was opened to home owners on Monday for a brief time period, allowing residents to gather personal items and evaluate damage. Today, Christie will be surveying the damaged 18 miles of land. According to the Press of Atlantic CityA, Christie and his cabinet officials will be meeting at the High Point Volunteer Fire Company in Harvey Cedars to hold a "nor'easter preparation press briefing."
"I understood that the governor flew over and was impressed when he flew over the coast and saw those that had replenishment didn't have a whole lot of damage," Mayor Jonathan Oldham told the Press of Atlantic City.
Made up of six municipalities, the mayors of each town are working hard on getting people back to their homes.
"We've kicked butt and took names and now it's time to come back to the Island," Long Beach Township Mayor Joseph Mancini told reporters. With a restriction to LBI in place, each town must send a letter to Christie in order for residents to be allowed back on. According to Mancini, the delay is due to Beach Haven Mayor Chuck Maschal. The Press of Atlantic City reports that Maschal failed to sign the letter to Christie because he believes Beach Haven got hit the worst by Sandy.
Although the hope is to get residents back on the Island on Friday, Monday's cleanup may cause problems with the upcoming nor'easter.
While it was made clear that residents should only be picking up personal items and removing perishables, the brief re-entry turned into an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." At 6 a.m. on Monday a line of cars stretched seven miles from Marsha Dr. to Neptune Dr.
"People had a few hours here and they tried to do whatever they could at their homes," said Harvey Cedars Mayor Jonathan Oldham.
The result was piles of debris in front of homes, including: furniture, mattresses, rugs, bikes, and wood. Although extra trucks were able to pick up the trash outside homes, many have been dumping their damaged goods in the Acme parking lot, which may pose a problem with the nor'easter.
"We've got everyone and their mother picking stuff up and dumping it at the Acme site," said Mancini.
Long Beach Island will once again be closed on Wednesday, Nov. 7 as winds are expected to reach up to 70 mph. FEMA recovery centers will be closed on Wednesday as well due to the nor'easter.
UPDATE: Gas line infrastructure on LBI not as bad as it was believed to be. No time frame has been given for when gas line will be back up.
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