Township Council President James J. Byrnes wants to meet with county officials to discuss the possibility of reopening portions of Berkeley Island County Park sooner than 2015.
"I'd like to set up a meeting to see if we an expedite this and do it in phases," Byrnes said at the Sept. 9 council meeting.
The 25-acre park off Brennan Concourse in the Bayville section juts out into Barnegat Bay. Time and tides had already taken their toll before Sandy roared ashore on Oct. 29.
Byrnes said small events could still be if the area to the west of the locked gates could be opened up.
Whole sections of macadam walkway washed away during the storm. Beaches on both the northern and southern sides of the park continue to erode. The fishing pier needs repairs.
Ocean County has decided on a two-pronged approach to rebuilding the park off Brennan Concourse, Parks and Recreation Assistant Michael Fiure and Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr. have both said.
The first step will be shoring up the eroding sections of beach and roadway. Ocean County already had a contract in place with Stephens Institute of Technology to design a "living shoreline," Fiure said.
The county plans to advertise requests for proposals for engineers to design the entire restabilization plan within the next 30 days, he said.
The erosion and roadway problems have to be taken care of first, before any improvements can be made to the park's infrastructure, Fiore said.
The storm surge tore off five feet chunks of a 20-foot swath of the roadway right near the 25-acre park's entrance and ripped up two utility light poles, which have never been found. All of the parking area on the right side of the park is "gone," he said.
The planking on the fishing dock will have to be replaced. But the bulkheads on the dock held up fairly well, Fiure said.
The second phase of the renovation will be the park's buildings and structures , which were already battered before Sandy roared onto the Jersey Shore last Oct. 29.
Surprisingly, the structures - the lifeguard building, bathrooms and a gazebo for picnics - held up during the storm, even though they are more than 30 years old, Fiure said.
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Berkeley Island County Park has bayside bathing beaches, a 100-foot fishing and crabbing pier, a picnic area with a covered pavilion and grills and public restrooms.