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Seaside Heights Faces ‘Economic Suicide’ If Boardwalk Isn’t Rebuilt by May

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The iconic boardwalk where generations of families and teens got their first taste of the Jersey Shore is being rebuilt after it was destroyed by Sandy. Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers says the boardwalk should be restored by Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

The town, which was devastated by the late-October storm, awarded a $3.6 million contract on Wednesday to have the boardwalk completed by May 10. Not rebuilding, Akers says, would be “economic suicide.”

“It would be virtually impossible for us to balance the budget without our boardwalk. That is the lifeline of our community,” he told WNYC’s Soterios Johnson.

He says of the town’s $12 million budget, $7 million comes from tourism. He adds that the storm cost the area between $10-15 million, between debris removal and rebuilding the boardwalk and roadways.

The town is rebuilding to ensure there is more protection so the area can better withstand future storms, says Akers, including hurricane straps on the boardwalk, 25 foot pilings and a sea wall.

Listen above for Soterios Johnson’s full interview with Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers.