"It's going to take months," Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl said of his borough's recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
In the low-lying areas of Rumson, along the Shrewsbury River, especially, "there was just so much damage," he added. "People had lockers from the beach clubs (in Sea Bright) washed up on their lawns, there was sewage, debris of all sorts. And there were boats. On Waterman Avenue, there's a boat that washed right up and lodged itself onto a property."
During the storm and much of its aftermath, cars were blocked from traveling through the neighborhood along the Shrewsbury, at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge.
But, recently, a trip through the once storm-blocked area told the story. "Some of these streets are still impassable or barely passable," Ekdahl said. Piles of unsalvagable, saturated belongings and debris from homes sat on roadsides. And, in a couple of instances, wires downed utility poles still blocked off streets.
U.S. Army National Guard troops were stationed in the borough for two weeks, he added. Much of their mission was guarding those low-lying Rumson neighborhoods and patrolling the foot of the bridge, where cars were not permitted cross to enter Sea Bright.
But, the mayor said, another issue was that there were looters. And, the guardsmen and police were there to stave them off.
Ekdahl said he spent a lot of time in his borough assisting in any way he could. He also helped out at Woody's Food/Tent City in neighboring Sea Bright and was there when . Wood had given praise to Ekdahl for his help and for providing a tent to get the operation started.
Ekdahl has not yet had an opportunity to cull facts and figures about the precise damage and cost to the borough and/or what relief will be sought from FEMA, but he said Sandy's effects were devastating to the borough.
On Tuesday, Ekdahl issued a statement on the borough's Web site. It reads, in its entirety:
"Rumson is now about 96% restored for power. Problem areas continue to be West Park, Harbor Drive and Riverside. The issue in these areas continue to be water over the interior sockets and/or over the main box. The Rumson building inspector has been pulling the meters from homes that have not had an inspection, it is very dangerous to energize homes not inspected. Please arrange to have an electrician inspect your home.
Bulk pick up continues with the addition of three outside contractors to assist our own DPW department.
Schools reopened yesterday with 965 out of 1,000 present in the primary schools. It is anticipated NJ will open up Ocean Ave in Sea Bright tomorrow.
Thanks to all the volunteers who have performed admirably during the storms."
On the ongoing power restoration problems cited by Rumson and other municipalities, Ekdahl expressed thanks for the out-of-state crews that came to assist. He called attention to the fact that Alabama Power, lauded in Fair Haven and treated to some daily barbecues and buffets, did a tremendous amount of work in Rumson. Fair Haven residents and merchants, as well as Sickles, in Little Silver, provided food for the lunches.
In case you may have missed the images of Rumson pre- and post-storm, take a look at the gallery above.
* Patch will be following up on the storm aftermath specifics as soon as further information becomes available.