By DON STINE
NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP – Neptune officials plan to install three monuments in the township that will officially mark water levels in past storms, especially Superstorm Sandy.
“They will mark the flood levels of past major storms and will show the drastic difference between Sandy and anything we ever had before,” Mayor Eric Hougtaling said.
He said the township will place three memorial markers, probably in stone, at Riverside Park, on the South Concourse near the Headliner, and in Ocean Gove at Central Avenue, near Fletcher Lake where high tides also caused damage.
Sandy created up to a 13-foot storm surge in the area, especially in the Shark River Hills section of Neptune where about 400 homes were damaged.
“So we will have a permanent record and people in the future know how high the water really was. Hopefully people won’t become complacent – with nobody believing it will happen again. It is possible,” he said.
The township will fund the monuments but the actual cost has not yet been determined.
Houghtaling said he hopes the monuments can be up sometime after Memorial Day.
At last week’s Township Committee meeting, a $1.5 million ordinance for improvements to the township marina on South Riverside Drive was introduced. A public hearing will be held May 13.
A state Green Acres grant for $600,000 will offset costs and the amount to be bonded is $900,000.
Chief Finance Officer Michael Bascom said the township expects to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the bonded amount and that additional Green Acres funding has been requested.
The money will pay for dredging, drainage, and replacement and improvements to bulkheads, floating docks, access ramps, walkways, boardwalk and electrical and lighting improvements.
Also, drivers will no longer be able to cross of over or make a left-hand turn from Monroe Avenue onto Route 35 in Neptune.
An ordinance adopted by the Township Committee at the last meeting allows only right-hand turns at the intersection. The move was adopted upon recommendation of the state Department of Transportation in anticipation of adding a traffic signal at the nearby intersection of Heck Avenue and Route 35.
Resident Michael Fornino questioned how the new traffic regulation will ever be enforced.
Houghtaling said drivers violating the new law will receive a ticket from police, just like anyone running a stop sign or a red light.