BRICK – It has taken more than eight years, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the township $1,136,867 to pay for repairs at Traders Cove Marina, which was undergoing reconstruction when 14-foot waves and wind from Superstorm Sandy destroyed docks there and an electrical shed that housed the transformer and other electrical components.
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker announced a combined $9,218,987 in FEMA funding to support two Sandy-related repair and mitigation projects in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
“This vital federal funding will help bring our state one step closer to full recovery from Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the Jersey Shore over eight years ago,” said Senator Menendez.
“It’s absolutely critical that we continue investing in resiliency and mitigation projects so that New Jersey’s families, businesses and communities are better prepared and can withstand future natural disasters,” he said.
The grant to repair Traders Cove Marina represents the final installment of federal funding to complete all the repairs and mitigation work at the township marina and park.
Traders Cove was purchased by the township in 2005 to stop the development of high-density condominiums.
At the time, the boatyard was known as the “Boat Graveyard,” since the overgrown property was filled with old and abandoned wooden boats, and only 30-40 usable boat slips out of about 100, said dockmaster Kevin Burdge, who was the first township employee hired at the marina in 2009.
“There were people living in some of the boats on the land,” he said from the marina recently. “Supposedly, they paid the owner to live on the boats.”
As soon as the township took over the marina, Burdge and Dan Santaniello (who is currently the township’s Director of Recreation) were tasked with finding titles to the boats and getting rid of the ones that were abandoned.
“We crushed up 16 boats, and we sold some of them on Govdeals.com,” Burdge recalled. “We ran the marina with the usable old slips and rented those out. The slips were narrow because people mostly had skiffs.”
By 2010, the men had the site cleared of overgrown grass using brush hogs and heavy machinery, and they operated the marina as best they could, Burge said.
Construction on the first two of three phases for the new township marina and park had already begun when Sandy hit on October 29, 2012.
The new construction, which consisted of a playground, boardwalk areas and the marina office fared pretty well, but the old docks were completely destroyed, the decking came apart, and the pilings snapped at the waterline, Burdge said.
The debris from 10 homes in Mantoloking landed in the boat yard. “You couldn’t even see the ground,” Burdge said. “It was unbelievable.”
In the aftermath of Sandy, the marina grounds became a staging area for Sandy contractors to check in before heading over to the barrier island.
After about a year, work began on the final and third phase at Traders Cove, which included construction of new docks and boat slips.
There are currently 110 boat slips, four docks, 16 transient slips, 24 jet ski docks and a boat ramp. All the slips are full and the yard is at maximum capacity for winter storage. The marina runs with just two full-time employees and four seasonal employees in the summer, who are all retirees, Burdge said.