A Cumberland County committee charged with salvaging the future of the county’s Delaware Bay communities following Hurricane Sandy is proposing 26 projects to meet that goal.
The Cumberland County Delaware Recovery Plan proposals include developing new eco-tourism enterprises, keeping those communities financially viable and replenishing protective beaches.
The plan was developed by the Delaware Bayshore Communities Long Term Recovery Committee, which was formed after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The committee will formally present the plan to the public during a meeting at Cumberland County College next week.
Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage to Delaware Bay communities in Downe, Commercial, Maurice River and Greenwich townships. The extent of the damage was, while significant, not extreme enough to garner the financial help primarily afforded to municipalities along the Atlantic Ocean.
Since the October 2012 hurricane, residents and merchants have found it difficult to rebuild. Some businesses that operated along the Delaware Bay for decades could close.
Cumberland County officials estimate that a recreational and commercial fishing and clamming industry of at least $200 million exists along the Delaware Bay between the Maurice and Cohansey rivers.
All four townships have representation on the committee, along with nonprofit, environmental, business and other entities in the region.
The efforts will be focused in four categories: shoreline protection, infrastructure, tourism-economic development and intergovernmental relations, according to the committee. The 26 projects stem from the four categories.
In addition to beach replenishment and developing new tourism opportunities, projects include maintaining vital waterways and creating more access to wild lands.
The plan has been endorsed by the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
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