By Phil Stilton
SEASIDE HEIGHTS—Mayor Bill Akers says visitors to Seaside Heights, which sustained moderate damage from the ocean to the Barnegat Bay during Hurricane Sandy, are welcome, but advises them to obey the rules and be mindful of safety when they visit.
With what seems like a never ending construction project for the borough and local businesses, Akers said his job is to make sure the town can continue welcoming guests while simultaneously keeping them safe.
Akers said visitors should stay off the beach and away from boardwalk construction areas, but are free to enjoy and patronize local businesses while the town continues rebuilding.
“We want to balance this. We want to make sure that our visitors and people are safe out there, so we have to have some enforcement,” Akers said. “But we also don’t want to deter anyone from coming here, so we’re trying to balance that. We want them to come and see what’s going on, but we want them to be safe.”
The hot spot of activity in the borough is along Ocean Terrace where utility crews, building contractors, debris removal trucks and heavy equipment mingle with visitors and pedestrians seeking to get a glimpse of the boardwalk and beach.
“We know that until the boardwalk is back, Ocean Terrace is going to be extra crowded,” the Mayor added. “We also have to be very mindful about cars and pedestrians mixing.”
Akers stressed the importance of staying off the beach and out of the way of the construction crews.
“You cannot go on the beach, it’s 100% off limits. It’s not safe. It’s a working construction site. We do not want people going on the beach yet.” Akers said. He added, “But you can see what’s going on from inside the businesses, Lucky Leo’s and the Beachcomber for example. [Michael Carbone] has done a wonderful job with the Beachcomber, you can go upstairs and it’s a beautiful view up there.”
From atop the Beachcomber, patrons can see all of the work being done from the Casino Pier south to the Funtown Pier.
Businesses in the borough are slowly but surely coming back online, including Lucky Leos, Original Steaks, Klees and Hemmingways, Bamboo and Akers said Spicy’s Cantina, on the boardwalk is getting close to being open.
Akers said that when it comes to booking your summer vacation come to Seaside Heights because he’s confident motels, rentals, restaurants, clubs and the boardwalk will be open for business by Memorial Day.
“There’s no reason to alter plans.” He said.