BELMAR, NJ — Greeted with much fanfare on social media, Belmar’s boardwalk benches are being placed back into their dedicated spots, beginning on the north end.
A Department of Public Works crew is leading the effort, loading the benches from the 13th Avenue parking lot, where they have been stored since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, into a rack-body truck for the short trip to the beachfront.
DPW will be conducting the task on a daily basis until the nearly 200 benches — many named in memory of loved ones — are back on the boards, according to Borough Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum.
The benches were removed from the boardwalk in the spring to allow for proper social distancing, as part of the rollout of COVID-19 rules during the state’s public health emergency, which recently was extended for the eighth time by Gov. Phil Murphy.
But since the summer crowds are gone, residents have been pressuring officials to return the benches, particularly so that seniors and individuals with disabilities can enjoy the ocean views — something many have not been able to do this unprecedented summer.
Earlier this week, the borough began allowing bicycling riding on the boardwalk as well.