Mayor: Conflicting reports on start date for southend beach fill

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Crews move sand on the beach in Ocean City during a beach fill in 2013. Crews move sand on the beach in Ocean City during a beach fill in 2013.

OCEAN CITY — The city has received conflicting information on the start date for a much-anticipated beach replenishment project in the south end, Mayor Jay Gillian said in a statement Thursday, Jan. 9.

Gillian said the information stated that the start date, previously announced as March 2014, may not be until after Labor Day.

“We know of no reason or combination of reasons that would cause a delay from the schedule we were elated to hear announced in October of last year,” Gillian said. “I have contacted Gov. (Chris) Christie’s office, along with Sen. (Robert) Menendez, Sen. (Cory) Booker and (Rep. Frank) LoBiondo to request their assistance in having this project proceed in a timely manner.”

Gillian said that, in the meantime, the city will continue to monitor the condition of the beaches and take all necessary steps to protect public and private property.

At the Thursday, Jan. 9 council meeting, Gillian said that he still had no reason to believe that the federally funded southend beach replenishment project should be delayed.

An online news story from Thursday quoted US Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District spokesman Richard Pearsall stating that the project will not go out to bid until May and will not start until after Labor Day.

“The one thing we realized was one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing,” he said. “We’re going to get beach replenishment one way or another.”

Gillian said the process is a “bureaucracy nightmare” and guessed that if there was a delay it could be due to the project being financed 100 percent with Hurricane Sandy emergency funds.

City administrator Mike Dattilo said that the city is in a position to truck in sand if necessary.

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