Exactly one year after Hurricane Sandy tore through the bayfront community of Little Egg Harbor Township, Gov. Chris Christie will visit this southern Ocean County community.
For the past year, officials and residents have called on Christie to come to the area to tour storm damage. When he didn’t, some criticized him for it, saying Christie snubbed the township because it wasn’t a resort area with a boardwalk. In southern Ocean County, Christie has visited Long Beach Island and Stafford Township after the storm.
Township Mayor John Kehm was one official critical of the governor.
On Friday, he said he was pleased Christie would be here to mark not just the one-year anniversary of the storm Tuesday, but also the reopening of the Community Center.
“It has been almost a year since Sandy ravaged our town. No one will ever forget her unforgiving winds and unrelenting flood waters. There were boats in the streets, empty lots where houses once stood and debris everywhere you looked,” Kehm said.
Christie will give remarks at the Little Egg Harbor Community Center during a Sandy ceremony and offer thanks to first responders and members of the community, according to a public schedule from the governor’s office.
Christie will spend Tuesday visiting storm-affected municipalities along the coast, including Seaside Park, Union Beach and Brick Township.
Much work continues in the township. Hundreds of homes are being razed and rebuilt one year later, and residents are continuing to move back into their homes, Kehm said.
“There is still work to be done and progress to be made. We’re changing our tomorrow a little bit every day. That’s the spirit of Little Egg Harbor,” Kehm said.
The Community Center in the Mystic Islands section was hardest hit during the storm. It took on about 5 feet of water. Public Works employees have been restoring the building for months, said township Police Chief Richard Buzby.
“The fact that the governor is going to be here is going to encourage people, and people down here need that encouragement,” Buzby said.
Buzby, a Rotary Club member, said the Rotary Club District 7500 donated $15,000 in materials for the center, including drywall and spray-insulation.
The local Great Bay Regional Police Athletic League recently received approval to use funding to do more work in the center’s kitchen, said Buzby, who is the executive director of the PAL.
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