Lt. Governor Impressed with LBI’s Rebuilding Efforts

Apr 05, 2013
Photo by: Jack Reynolds Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, visiting Long Beach Island on Thursday, takes a tour of Buckalew's Restaurant in Beach Haven, with Mayor Robert Keeler (right) and Allan Menegus, general manager of Buckalew’s.

Riding down Long Beach Island Thursday afternoon, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno liked what she saw – many parked cars, businesses opening or displaying signs that they’ll be opening soon and shoppers strolling on the sidewalks.

“I can see that Long Beach Island is back in business,” said Guadagno during a stop-over at Buckalew’s Restaurant and Tavern in Beach Haven. “I know for many people it has been a struggle since Superstorm Sandy, but people are working hard, and I’m confident we’re going to have a fine summer season.”

She got a tour of the restaurant and sat down a for a brief talk with residents, business owners and area officials.

Guadagno, who earlier in the day visited Viking Village in Barnegat Light, said the state is planning a $25 million advertising campaign highlighting the slogan that the “Jersey Shore Is Open for Business.”

“Summer tourism was a $38 billion industry in 2011 and $40 billion in 2012,” she said. “This is an industry that is so vital to the state. We’re going to reach out to people in New York and Pennsylvania with this advertising campaign.”

That was something that Beach Haven Mayor Robert Keeler wanted to hear.

“I have felt that many media markets outside of New Jersey don’t really think that this island is open for business,” he said.

Guadagno also urged businesses and residents to take advantage of Gov. Christie’s extension of applying for Small Business Administration disaster loan assistance until May 1.

“The deadline was originally going to be April 1, so if you haven’t applied, you should do it right away,” she said. “I know the paperwork process is very onerous, but the quicker you get into the system, the better it will be because it is on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s about $500 million available for businesses and $800 million for residents.”

Allan Menegus, general manager of Buckalew’s, during the tour told Guadagno his restaurant was one of the first businesses to reopen in Beach Haven. The restaurant has also been the site of two fundraisers that have a raised a total of $55,000 for borough businesses and first responders.

“We had about $400,000 in damage,” said Menegus. “We had 20 inches of water. We had to put in new floors and a new kitchen. A lot of the people on our staff were able to pitch in and help.”

He told her that each week, more establishments continue to reopen their doors.

“Everyone has been working very hard getting their homes and their businesses open, and I think it is going to be a good summer,” said Menegus. “We had a pretty good Easter weekend. I think we’re all very determined to be back in business.”

Guadagno said Buckalew’s looks “like a very nice place to eat.”

“You certainly have done a great job in getting the place fixed up after all that damage,” she said. “And it is also great that you’ve done a lot to help your community.”

Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

 

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