Daniel Nee

NJ - The Surf Club Now Belongs to Toms River: What Comes Next?

Toms River officials delivered on their pledge to bring the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club property under public ownership by the end of 2021. And now that the new year is upon us, the focus of both officials and residents has turned to the future of the oceanfront site.

There is no formal architectural rendering for what will ultimately be proposed to the state Department of Environmental Protection for approval, but Toms River officials have drawn up sketches and have begun engaging with their counterparts in Trenton to develop a plan that will preserve the natural space of the site while adding some amenities to increase beach access. Any plan will require Trenton’s approval since the vast majority of the funding for the $7.3 million acquisition came from the state’s Blue Acres program, which utilizes state dollars to purchase flood-prone properties in order to prevent future commercial or residential development.

Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill told Shorebeat that the current plans for the site include taking up the pavement and rubble in the former nightclub’s parking lot across from the beach entrance. That lot will be open to the public for beach parking.

“The parking lot will have a clamshell surface – the state didn’t want it paved – and it will be similar to the lot of the old First Aid station in Ortley Beach,” said Hill.

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