Berkeley Hopes Butler Beach Project Complete For Memorial Day

Butler Beach Project
Butler Beach overlooking Barnegat Bay. (Photo by Catherine Galioto)

BERKELEY – It’s been nearly a year since the township pursued a $300,000 project at its Butler Boulevard Beach, to complete dredging, beach replenishment and a crabbing dock, but officials hope the state permits will arrive soon.

Though the township sees no issue with having its oceanfront beach open for Memorial Day, the bayfront Butler Boulevard beach is stalled waiting for a state permit to complete work there.

Councilman Jim Byrnes inquired about beach readiness at the last council meeting, with township engineer giving an update on the project at Butler Beach, a mainland bayfront beach at the end of that road with houses a parking lot, sandy area and playground.

“The spring is coming along, I’d like to know how we are doing with our beaches,” Byrnes said. “How are the Butler permits coming along, how is Seaside looking, are we going to be open for Memorial Day?”

The Butler Beach project would reinforce the waterfront, since after being rebuilt with new equipment after Superstorm Sandy, another storm swept over the beach, requiring new repairs, dredging and beach work.

“I don’t see any issue with the ocean beaches,” said Township Engineer Alan Dittenhofer. “But Butler Boulevard, we are awaiting the permits, expect to have that next month and go to bid after that. It should be constructed and try to get it done for Memorial Day.”

Byrnes is hoping as many of the bayfront beaches and parks under the township’s authority will be open in time for the season. A county project for its park, Berkeley Island County Park, broke ground this winter and is not expected to be complete for this summer.

“You know, there are a lot of water access residents there that don’t have water access,” Byrnes said. “We should make some accommodations to them.”

Officials said previously that the state Department of Environmental Protection process for securing work permits has held up the project.

“Is there any work we can do without a permit?” Byrnes asked the engineer.

Dittenhofer said for dredging and beach replenishment work for the project, permits are needed, “Otherwise, we’d have them done.”

The project was drawn up in May 2016, to include bulkheading work and a crabbing dock, along with parking lot improvements, and the beach replenishment.