By Neil Schulman
Sea Bright — After a several year absence, the Andrew Manning Memorial Swim may be returning to the borough this year.
At the June 11 Borough Council workshop, Councilman Charles Rooney III said his father, the late mayor Charles Rooney Jr., founded the swim in the late 1980s, naming it in honor of a former mayor of the borough.
It was one of the first one-mile swims on the shore.
“My dad and his buddies were the original Sandy Hookers,” a triathalon club, Rooney said.
But in the mid-2000s, the tradition died out. At the time, the organizers handed off the management to another group, which let it fade away.
Now people are trying to bring it back.
In fact, Doug Rice, Sandy Hooker Founder, said the race could be renamed the Manning/ Rooney swim.
Rice said that unlike many ocean swims, this one would be going with the tide instead of against it.
He believes the race would attract about 150 people.
He hopes to find about four merchants to help sponsor t-shirts, the biggest expense for these events. Their sponsorship, and the entry fees, will also help pay for lifeguards needed.
Remaining proceeds, if any, would be donated to the borough’s recreation program.
He also said that businesses sometimes like to form special offers as part of these events, such as giving a free coffee to anyone who comes in with a swim cap from the race.
Temp sea wall shrinks
Due to the rising costs of a project, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection wants to make an interim sea wall shorter than originally proposed.
Eventually, the whole sea wall here and in Monmouth Beach will be repaired and strengthened with funds from FEMA, due to damage sustained in Superstorm Sandy. But that will be a few years away. And there’s a section of the borough without a sea wall.
If a major storm broke out, the water would all flow through this section.
Borough Engineer Jacklyn Flor said that orignally the NJ DEP was going to build an interim steel wall along the entire gap. Now they want to cover only part of it with a wall, and put up a sand berm in the other area.
“What’s being defined as a gap to FEMA, I understand it’s different,” she said.
Mayor Dina Long wanted to know why the DEP wanted to change the plans, since any stopgap work should be reimbursed by FEMA. Flor said that she believes it is because getting approval from the federal agency is time-consuming, and time matters.
The project’s budget has increased, and sand is much cheaper than steel.
No to sales on sand
If sponsors to the Sea Bright Skim Bash want to give out free samples on the beach, that’s fine, but selling goods will probably not be permitted.
Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said that one of the sponsors for the event, who makes ices, requested permission to sell them during the event.
Officials say that in the past, they’ve gotten a lot of criticism from local businesses when out-of-towners are allowed to sell on the beach.
Long said several years ago a hot dog place wanted to sell at the Skim Bash “and that was a big problem.” Instead, they were permitted to give free hot dogs away.