Rutgers Students Help Sea Bright
Graduate students at Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in the “Sandy Recovery Studio” are helping create unique ideas for the borough of Sea Bright.
According to NJ Spotlight, “the class is dedicated entirely to rethinking and rebuilding the central New Jersey town of Sea Bright, which saw widespread structural damage and flooding during and after the October storm.”
New ideas introduced to help the borough following Hurricane Sandy include the Army Corps of Engineers building a bulkhead along the riverbank to help flood-proof Sea Bright.
“And students in the Sandy Recovery Studio are thinking about how to preserve the character and communal spirit of a beach town that’s being walled in by engineers.
“We wanted to turn these traditional engineering efforts into an asset for the community,” said student Megan O’Leary. So the class has been devising ways to repurpose what O’Leary calls those “unsightly” barriers against flooding.
One proposal would turn the oceanfront sea wall into an elevated boardwalk, giving visitors a view of the Atlantic from several stories high. A pier connected to the boardwalk would house commercial space as well as room for a community center or library, two public buildings damaged during Sandy.”
The hope is that these proposed changes to the community the borough. The boardwalk could help the economy of Sea Bright as it could attract tourists.
“Students are also proposing development projects using resources Sea Bright already has. For example, several beach clubs have parking lots that go unused in the off-season. So students proposed building canopies fitted with solar panels above the lots, to harness sustainable energy for the town and shield parked cars from the heat. Locals could use the covered space to host outdoor markets and events during the other seasons in order to create a sustainable year-round economy.”
Students have talked with Mayor Dina Long in addition to residents and officials of the borough.
“Last month, the class presented its findings to Sea Bright residents and officials, who were pleased with the results and followed up with a flurry of questions. Having gotten the effective green light to move forward with the project, several students began working up a final report and [teacher Carlos] Rodrigues started coordinating construction efforts with Mayor Long and FEMA. The Bloustein School will also stay involved with Sea Bright through the end of the year, as the town moves from wondering how to rebuild to deciding what to rebuild first.”