Seaside Heights’ Roller Coaster Recovery is Back on Track

Long famous for its boardwalk, amusements, and sandy beaches, the Borough of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has been a popular summer vacation destination for over a century. More recently, the Borough gained fame as the location of MTV’s reality program Jersey Shore and a national reputation as a summer party town. With a land area of less than 0.5 miles and a population of only 2,900 in the off-season, Seaside Heights experiences exponential growth between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with crowds swelling to 30,000 + each weekend.

However, in recent years, Seaside Heights has garnered national attention for devastating setbacks in the form of successive disasters. In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck Seaside Heights and caused immense damage to the boardwalk and Casino Pier. Floodwaters inundated the Borough and left more than 200 businesses and nearly 60 percent of homes damaged. Images of Seaside Heights’ famous roller coaster submerged in the Atlantic Ocean became a nationally recognized symbol of the scale of Sandy’s destruction. Less than a year later, in September 2013, strong winds carried a fire across the newly rebuilt boardwalk, destroying large sections of the boardwalk and numerous businesses.

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Seaside Heights has yet to fully recover from the lingering impacts of Superstorm Sandy. Vacancy rates in homes and businesses remain high, many year-round residents have not returned after Sandy, and poverty rates exceed 20 percent among year-round residents.

As a participating city in the New Jersey State Resource Network, Seaside Heights has partnered with the National Resource Network to develop a promising path forward. The Network is working with the Borough to achieve fiscal sustainability and the capacity to make strategic investments in its future. The Network is developing a multi-year financial, housing, and economic resiliency plan that outlines strategies for Seaside Heights to achieve budget and operational sustainability, while also freeing up additional resources to make investments in residents’ quality of life and economic competitiveness.

To learn more about this project, contact us at info@nationalresourcenetwork.org.