North Wildwood's main economic engine, its beach, is due for an overhaul this year to replace thousands of cubic yards of sand lost to Hurricane Sandy and routine erosion.
"We're looking to get the beach back in shape for the summer," Mayor Bill Henfey said of the need to ready the beach for the town’s seasonal visitors.
During Tuesday's regular City Council meeting, the city awarded a $7,500 contract to Van Note-Harvey Associates to complete the engineering work for bid specifications for the project.
City Administrator Lou Belasco said that while the middle of the beach, from Sixth to 20th avenues, has seen some growth, the northern and southern ends have lost considerable amounts of sand.
The city has enlisted Stewart Farrell of Richard Stockton College's Coastal Research Center to survey the city beaches each fall and spring, and the last survey was completed just weeks before Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore.
After the storm, Farrell determined that the city had lost 150,000 cubic yards of sand. In addition, another 75,000 cubic yards had disappeared prior to the storm due to erosion.
Now, the city wants to replace those 225,000 cubic yards to "get us back to last summer's" beach condition, Henfey said.
The cost of the project will be determined as the bids come in, but Henfey said the city will share the cost with the federal government.
Under a matching program with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city will be paid back for 75 percent of the cost of the mobilization of a dredge and 75 percent of the cost of the actual pumping of the sand.
Last year, the city completed a sand back passing operation in which it moved sand from Wildwood Crest to North Wildwood by truck. At the time, the back passing cost between $7 to $8 per cubic yard, while dredging would have cost an estimated $15 per cubic yard.
Once the bid specifications are complete, the city can solicit bids and Henfey expects the work could be done by the end of June.
Henfey is also hoping the city can save money on any dredge mobilization costs because a dredge will already be in Hereford Inlet for a project in neighboring Stone Harbor.
Henfey said the town's other option is to use bulldozers to lift sand from the water's edge and haul it onto the beach.
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