Berkeley Island County Park was already battered by time and tides and in need of "loving care" before Superstorm Sandy hit on Oct. 29.
But now the park will need more than that. Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr. estimates it will take between $3 million to $5 million to rebuild the park off Brennan Concourse in Bayville that juts out into Barnegat Bay.
The 30-year-old park was inundated by flood waters, which destroyed the bathrooms, "totally" knocked out the fishing pier dock and severely eroded the roadway in the parking lot on both sides, Bartlett said.
"It did a job on it," said Bartlett, who has been liaison to the county Parks and Recreation department for three decades. "The whole park needs to be rebuilt."
County officials had already planned renovations to the park before Sandy struck. The 30-year-old facility was badly in need of an upgrade, but Sandy made things worse, much worse, Bartlett said.
"It's a shambles," he said during a break in the Ocean County Board of Freeholders caucus meeting last week.
The park has been closed since Sandy hit and will probably remain so for some time. County officials may be able to regrade portions of the roadway to open Berkeley Island for strictly passive activity, but there will be no restrooms available for some time.
"We are kind of putting it on hold," he said.
Park employees were already concerned about erosion along Cedar Creek on the south side of the park before Sandy hit. Now, Bartlett estimates that between 10 to 15 feet of roadway on each side of the parking lot is gone.
"It (the park) was certainly tired and needed redeveloping," he said. "We had gone out for RFPs (requests for proposals). But after the storm hit, we pulled that back. It needs to be rebuilt."
"It will be rebuilt," Bartlett added. "It will be first on the list."