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Ortley Beach & North Beaches

Toms River Prepares for Boardwalk to Run Along Former Surf Club Property




The Ortley Beach boardwalk, July 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The Ortley Beach boardwalk terminates at the Surf Club property, July 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

Toms River officials are finalizing their plans for a long-discussed boardwalk extension that would be built over the property of the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property, which was brought under public ownership several years after being destroyed in Superstorm Sandy.

The oceanfront parcel on which the landmark nightclub and restaurant once stood was acquired through a complex deal that involved a land swap with the county, local funding, and funding from the state’s Blue Acres program. Building a boardwalk – or anything – on the site would normally be prohibited since the Blue Acres program is designed to eliminate repeatedly-flooded properties from private ownership, however exceptions can be made for public beach access and similar uses. Under Blue Acres, the state retains principal ownership of the property while Toms River maintains it.



The state has already granted Toms River permission to pave the nightclub’s former parking area on Oceanfront.



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Mayor Dan Rodrick said Thursday that the township estimates the boardwalk extension will cost approximately $3 million, though the township has already received $1 million in boardwalk preservation funding the state under the federal infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021.

Rodrick said the remainder of the cost of expanding the boardwalk could be covered by engaging with the state’s infrastructure bank, better known as the “I-Bank,” which provides ultra-low-interest loans for public projects, much of which is often forgiven. Seaside Park plans to replace their entire boardwalk through I-Bank funding.

The former Joey Harrison's Surf Club property, still undeveloped in July 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property, still undeveloped in July 2023. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former Joey Harrison's Surf Club parking area and beachfront parcel, Ortley Beach, Toms River, N.J. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club parking area and beachfront parcel, Ortley Beach, Toms River, N.J. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former Joey Harrison's Surf Club parking area and beachfront parcel, Ortley Beach, Toms River, N.J. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club parking area and beachfront parcel, Ortley Beach, Toms River, N.J. (Photo: Shorebeat)

The engineering work for the boardwalk extension has already been completed.

“T&M did the design work already and it’s ready to go,” Rodrick said, referring to a widely-used civil engineering firm. “I also met with the I-Bank because the rate is spectacular.”



The boardwalk is currently split in Ortley Beach, but Rodrick said the two ends will be able to be connected under the permit received from the state. The boardwalk that currently terminates at 7th Avenue, stops at the former Surf Club property (and before a group of condominiums) and picks up again at 5th Avenue.

“I think we’ll have another set of bathrooms and showers, like we have now on Fielder Avenue,” Rodrick said.

Still unresolved is the issue as to whether dune crossovers can be constructed over the Surf Club site before the boardwalk project gets underway, as township officials are seeking additional access points due to smaller beaches – an unrelated matter due to a holdup of a federal beach replenishment project.

There is not yet a set timeline for the project.

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Editor’s Note: This article was corrected to reflect the entire boardwalk would be re-connected from end-to-end.




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