City officials are hoping FEMA will them expedite the repair of Lake Takanassee and Manahassett Creek Park after both were damaged and flooded by Hurricane Sandy.
Long Branch Police Sgt. Charles Shirley, who also works with the city office of emergency management, recently said repairing the area where Lake Takanassee was breached and is spilling out to the ocean is imperative.
"We've been working with (Long Branch Department of Public Works Director Fred Migliaccio) on getting some material in there to at least protect it so that next time if we have another storm that comes in, such as a nor'easter," Shirley said.
Shirley said in the past, houses on North Lake Drive and South Lake Drive, which border Lake Takanassee, were spared because the city was able to lower the level of the lake and create a reserve so that water filled in there instead of flooding the properties.
"We don't have the ability to control it right now," Shirley said. "It's at the level it's at and if we get a large rain with winds and the tides are held, we could have some issues there."
Migliaccio said the banks along the lake's spillway must be built back up in order to stop the flooding, but that the NJDEP must allow the city to perform the work.
"If they allow us to go in there and put material in there, we can build it back up, and put some sand up to protect it and build up both sides and restore it to the way it was," Migliaccio said. "So at least the level of the lake will return to the elevation we had adjusted it to."
Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said there is an expedited timeframe on the project, because of the danger of the lake backflooding with an "unnaturally high tide."
Restoring Manahassett Creek Park is also high on city officials' list of post-Hurricane Sandy cleanup projects. The park, located near the Shrewsbury River, is the home field for several Long Branch youth sports teams, and the damaged fields will not allow them to utilize it if they are not repaired.
"DW Smith did an engineering report for us, and FEMA will issue funding based on the report so we can move on that immediately and get the fields open for kids," Shirley said.
Woolley said DW Smith is the firm that originally did work on the park, which is why they were brought in to assess the damage.
Woolley said the park received $600,000 in damage, which included flooding to the playground area and athletic fields. The newly-built recreation building was not damaged by the flood waters, he said.