Work has finally begun this fall to bring in sand and rebuild the shoreline in Monmouth Beach, N.J., that has been eroded by storms in recent years, but surfers are still worried about the final result.
Monmouth Beach is a small shore community just a few miles south of Sandy Hook, and about 32 miles from Manhattan as the sea gull flies. For years it has counted on its sea wall and beaches to protect this sea level community wedged between the ocean and a back bay.
After years of erosion following the last renourishment project, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone was able to get several million dollars in federal money to match state and local funds for the $13 million project.
But surfers worried about beach access.
"This is federal money and everybody's tax dollars and it's only fair people get to use these beaches," said Rich Lee, a surfer and member of the Surfriders Foundation.
Parking is also a big problem, according to John Weber of the Surfriders Foundation.
But Mayor Sue Howard said Monmouth Beach streets are old and too narrow to allow for more parking.
"You'd have to widen the streets. We can't -- there's nothing more we can do," Howard said.
There are other issues, such as the design of an underwater artificial reef offshore to protect the new beach while making wavs for surfers.
That's under study by scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.
And then there's one other concern for this Jersey Shore community.
The new beach is going in along just past the southern half of town, where two condominium projects tower right over the beach, on the ocean side of Ocean Boulevard.
For the other half of town, where the sea wall abutts Ocean Boulevard, no sand will be pumped in the foreseeable future.
"There aren't enough federal dollars to perform these projects," said Donald E. Cresitello, project planner for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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