Coast Guard station in southern New Jersey set for $14 million in Sandy-related upgrades


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

People:

Organizations:

Subjects:

Places:

 


POINT PLEASANT BEACH, New Jersey — The federal government is set to spend nearly $14 million on the Manasquan Inlet Coast Guard station to protect it from future storms like Superstorm Sandy.

The historic transformation is part of a redevelopment plan to centralize all the station's operations in a new 19,100-square-foot, three-story building. The boat house and crew barracks will be torn down, but the historic administration office is scheduled to remain, officials said.

"Right now, there are three separate buildings for the operation," Elena Soini, executive petty for the station located on the Point Pleasant Beach side of the Manasquan River, told the Asbury Park Press (http://on.app.com/1mt5hg1). "This was a plan that has been in the works for years."

The new facility will be funded through the $60 billion Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 29. The spending plan sets aside money for federal agencies impacted by the Sandy, including nearly $144 million for the Coast Guard.

The contract for the project is expected to be awarded Aug. 7 and work on the Point Pleasant Beach station could start early next year, said Jeff Sagnip, a spokesman for Congressman Chris Smith, R-N.J.

"The Coast Guard decided to use the money to build a long-term facility to serve the Ocean County area that could withstand a 500-year storm," Sagnip said, adding the money was separate from funds available to homeowners who wanted to rebuild their houses following the storm.

A 500-year storm has a one in 500, or .2 percent, chance of happening in any year. The storms produce tidal surges similar to the ones seen during Sandy.

Michael Mahoney, commanding officer at the station, said construction on the site could take between 18 and 24 months.

The new facility will have its own generator so it can operate for up to two weeks without electricity, Sagnip said.

The Manasquan Inlet station, one of eight Coast Guard stations in New Jersey, is manned by a crew of 35 men and women, and they respond to about 600 search and rescue cases each year.

"The project was put on the back burner for years, but after Superstorm Sandy it was discussed again," Soini said.

During Sandy, which made landfall Oct. 29, 2012, all three of the station's buildings had flooding, she said. The massive storm left an indelible mark on the region: flooding out communities and causing billions of dollars of damage.

"We had approximately $2.1 million in damage from the storm," Soini said. "These improvements will hopefully eliminate that in the future."

Despite the changes, one thing will remain the same: The historic station building, built in 1936, will be preserved, Sagnip said.

"The Coast Guard will ultimately relinquish it through an approved federal process of excess buildings," he said, adding no timetable has been set.

During the years, Mahoney and his staff have been making improvements to the 7,376-square-foot, three-story administration building.

"It's disappointing," Mahoney said of leaving the nearly 80-year-old facility. "There is so much history in this building. We have people coming by to visit who say that they were stationed here during the 40's, 50's and 60's."

Borough Mayor Vincent Barrella said he is happy that the building was spared demolition.

"It's a historic landmark, you don't see buildings with that type of architecture anymore," he said. "That building is a local treasure."


Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, http://www.app.com

All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Click here to read our privacy policy.