The Shark River Hills Beach & Yacht Club, which was destroyed last year during Superstorm Sandy, is being rebuilt but will be 13 feet higher than its previous elevation.
The club building, at 360 South Riverside Dr. in the Shark River Hills section of Neptune, was about 50 years old with several improvements made over the years.
Yacht Club Board of Directors Chairman John Dempsey said its membership recently approved the final $1.5 million plan to rebuild the club, which was razed in April because it was deemed unsafe.
The new building will be built on its same footprint but raised up on 13-foot pillars due to new building and insurance regulations.
The new building is being funded with $500,000 from a flood insurance policy and with they rest being paid through club memberships and special assessments.
The DEP is also allowing the club to add another 400-square-feet to install an elevator and steps. The roof line of the new club will be 34 feet above the street level.
“It is a tremendous increase in the height of the building but it will be completely modernized and handicapped accessible. And the membership wants to get moving and get it built,” Dempsey said.
The club has about 190 members and 83 boat slips.
Dempsey said membership in the club remains strong and that it still holds various charity fundraising events despite its own problems. Temporary bathrooms and a temporary bar and barbeque have been provided. Docks have also been repaired.
“Everybody was back in action this past summer after the club was destroyed the previous year. Things are moving forward,” he said.
Dempsey said township officials and local legislators have been very helpful in getting the yacht club back on its feet.
“Now we just want to get through our permits and get this thing built,” he said.
Yacht Club officials are hoping the new club can be ready in about one year.
Bill Geschke, a former Neptune City Police Chief who is now the Yacht Club Commodore, said the club also hopes to eventually dredge the area around its boating slips but that it continually seems to be running into obstacles from the state Department of Environmental Protection agency.
“We would like to dredge out at least four feet of silt and mud that was deposited during Sandy. At low tide boats are now sitting in the mud where there was water before,” he said.
He said the club spent about $10,000 to try to obtain an emergency permit to dredge about 9,000 cubic yards of sediment from the area but that the DEP just seems to be a problem.
Geschke said that many old records being requested by the DEP were also destroyed in the storm.
“We have been held up for various approvals. We are having a rough time with the DEP right now to move ahead. At low tide boats are stuck and it was never that way before,” he said.
Pictured above - Shark River Hills Boat & Yacht Club photo.