Toms River Township officials on Wednesday laid out some initial plans for the site of the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property, recently acquired by the municipal government through state Blue Acres funding.
While Blue Acres funds come with limitations – the intent of the program is to remove development from flood-prone properties – state officials have approved the bulk of Toms River’s plans to extend its boardwalk behind the dune line, build a covered area (but not a new building) for the site, revive the former parking lot of the nightclub to provide more than 100 spaces and potentially add a small playground area for children.
“The boardwalk is still going in as proposed and the parking lot on the west side is still going in as proposed,” said Township Engineer Robert Chankalian.
The state requested some modifications to certain aspects of the town’s vision, but granted “90 percent” of was proposed, Chankalian said.
On Wednesday night, the township council awarded a $284,803 contract to T&M Associates, an engineering firm that will develop the technical plans for the demolition of the remaining structures on the site, conduct an environmental analysis, and provide civil, site and structural engineering services.
“There has to be lead and asbestos testing to be done to determine the environmental impacts,” said Chankalian, adding the township would comply with all state laws regarding the demolition of the building, which has sat dormant and half-demolished since being inundated by the wrath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
It will be some time before physical work begins, officials warned. The state is requiring the township to obtain a CAFRA (Coastal Areas Facilities Review Act) permit, which often takes more than six months to process, as well as a detailed structural and design review of everything that will replace the former nightclub.
“This is soup to nuts,” Chankalian said.