Toms River Business Gets A Lift… Literally!
It's hard to believe that tomorrow marks one year since Superstorm Sandy came ashore, leaving a lot of devastation in her wake and changing life for many in the Garden State forever.
In the last 12 months, we've seen progress with the cleanup, the rebuilding and the recovery - but there's still a ways to go and more that needs to be done. There are thousands of individual stories about before, during and after the biggest natural disaster the state had ever seen. One dentist from Toms River has a story all his own and he is grateful for the support and kindness from the community during a tumultuous time.
During Sandy, the Riverfront Dental Care Building on Water Street was clobbered. A four to five foot surge from the Toms flooded the building, resulting in almost two feet of water inside. Much of the interior suffered including the loss of equipment, damage to the walls and floors and a risk of mold and other hazards.
While the storm was over our area, Dr. David Stein, who started in the practice in 1981 and who had owned the building for 12 years, was devastated, wondering what was going on inside. He says "we knew there would be water, we just didn't know how much. The building had never been flooded before. During a nor'easter in 1993, we did have water in the parking lot but it never made its way inside. That all changed during Sandy."
The damage to the interior of the building forced Stein, his associate and staff to relocate to a temporary office elsewhere in town. That was difficult enough and hard on the patients. But people stayed with the practice and knew the goal would be to fix up the riverfront location again, making it better than ever. For the entire year, Stein and his wife Peggy, wen't through the trouble of dealing with the government for assistance. The FEMA money was slow to come in and so were those finalized flood advisory maps. Grant applications were submitted but they never received one.
There was also the issue with the flood insurance, which is still getting ironed out. The Stein's are still owed money that hasn't been given just yet. They've been patient but that's been tricky and frustrating.
Although the building isn't in the V Zone, Stein has decided to take FEMA's guidelines and follow them to a T. Over the weekend, construction crews hoisted the building four feet. The process is still underway as of today but once complete, the interior work will begin. The price tag for the raising and for repairs and new utilities is in the neighborhood of $500,000!
Stein says "I couldn't, in good conscience, just redo the inside and leave it on the current foundation. There's too much at stake here. What if we have another storm? Too many people would be affected. We had to do this."
We've all heard a lot about homes that are getting the 'lift' for flood requirements. The dental practice is the first in Toms River and maybe in the entire Ocean County area that is taking the necessary steps to prevent future problems if the river comes back on land.
Stein thanks everyone in the community for their continued support, as well as his patients and staff. He hopes to have the original location back up and running sometime in the Spring.
For more information on his practice, visit riverfrontdentists.com.